In March, Search Engine Journal reported that Google was planning on making drastic algorithmic changes to provide its users with better search results. The changes, which are primarily focused on incorporating new semantic technology, will allow Google to better understand search queries and include answers and information at the top of the search results page.
Amit Singhal, a Google Vice President and Fellow, recently told Mashable that a team of software engineers has been working to develop mathematical formulas that will extract and organize data that is currently spread across the Internet. The combination of an acquisition and the extraction algorithms have provided Google with an index of over 200 million people, places, and things, which Google simply calls “entities.” This index, which Google named the Knowledge Graph, will allow Google to move away from keyword-based results to true semantic search.
Once the entities are properly organized, semantic search technology enables Google to measure the relationship and separation between two entities to determine search results and rankings. For example, if an individual were to search “Miami Heat,” Google would likely include information related to Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade. In addition, Google users can already ask questions related to a player’s height (i.e. How tall is Lebron James?) and receive an accurate answer above the typical search results. As the database of entities expands and the semantic algorithms improve, Google will have the ability to answer more complex questions.
Now, it appears that the new semantic search functionalities are being tested. For example, when a user searches “who directed The Hunger Games,” the answer is provided at the top of the search results. In addition, some users are provided additional information and pictures related to Gary Ross on the right-hand side where ads normally appear.
A Google spokesperson told the press the following regarding the new changes: “We’re always experimenting with ways to improve Search, but we have nothing to announce at this time.” The changes, which may affect the rankings of millions of websites, are expected to rollout for all users in the near future. However, Google previously indicated the full development of the new semantic search technology will take several years.