unveils major upgrade to search algorithm - 26th September
has unveiled an upgrade to the way it interprets users'
new algorithm, codenamed Hummingbird, is the first
major upgrade for three years.
has already been in use for about a month, and affects
about 90% of Google searches.
a presentation on Thursday, the search giant was short
on specifics but said Hummingbird is especially useful
for longer and more complex queries.
stressed that a new algorithm is important as users
expect more natural and conversational interactions
with a search engine - for example, using their voice
to speak requests into mobile phones, smart watches
and other wearable technology.
is focused more on ranking information based on a
more intelligent understanding of search requests,
unlike its predecessor, Caffeine, which was targeted
at better indexing of websites.
reading the main story
just changed Google's engines mid-flight - again
Senior VP, Google Search
It is more capable of understanding concepts and the
relationships between them rather than simply words,
which leads to more fluid interactions. In that sense,
it is an extension of Google's "Knowledge Graph"
concept introduced last year aimed at making interactions
one example, shown at the presentation, a Google executive
showed off a voice search through her mobile phone,
asking for pictures of the Eiffel Tower. After the
pictures appeared, she then asked how tall it was.
After Google correctly spoke back the correct answer,
she then asked "show me pictures of the construction"
- at which point a list of images appeared.
However, one search expert cautioned that it was too
early to determine Hummingbird's impact. "For
me this is more of a coming out party, rather than
making me think 'wow', said Danny Sullivan, founder
of Search Engine Land.
you've been watching this space, you'd have already
seen how they've integrated it into the [predictive
search app] Google Now and conversational search.
know that they've put this technology further into
their index may have some big payoffs but we'll just
have to see how it plays out," Mr Sullivan said.
news was announced at an intimate press event at the
Silicon Valley garage where founders Sergei Brin and
Larry Page worked on the launch of the search engine,
which is fifteen years old on Friday.
the event, the search behemoth also announced an updated
search app on Apple's iOS, as well as a more visible
presence for voice search on its home page.