Google is the midst of overhauling its search to make it more intuitive and provide more relevant answers to queries.
As Google Fellow and SVP Amit Singhal explained to Mashable last month, the shift attempts to go beyond mere words and into the world of entities, attributes and the relationship between those entities. In practice, that means that over the next few months you will begin to see subtly different results to searches.
As further outlined in a Wall Street Journal story on the subject on Thursday, a search for “Lake Tahoe” will produce “key attributes” that Google knows about the lake, including its altitude, location, salt content and average temperature. The query “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?,” meanwhile, would yield an answer instead of just links to relevant sites.
Some of the search changes are already visible. From our earlier post:
“Type “Monet” into Google Search, for instance, and, along with the standard results, you’ll find a small area at the bottom: “Artwork Searches for Claude Monet.” In it are thumbnail results of the top five or six works by the master. Singhal says this is an indication that Google search is beginning to understand that Monet is a painter and that the most important thing about an artist is his greatest works.”
The effort is part of a longstanding push by Google to evolve its search into something resembling artificial intelligence. The company hastened that evolution with the 2010 purchase of Freebase, a community-built knowledge base packed with some 12 million canonical entities. Doing so allowed the search engine to recognize that words that are grouped together have different meanings than the words would separately. For instance, a Google search can distinguish a search for “New York” as opposed to one for “New” and “York.”
It’s unclear how the plan overlaps, if at all, with Google’s other recent search initiative, Google plus Your World, which integrates Google+ results into standard searches.
Comments? Thoughts? How do you think they should incorporate the new design?