I was recently reading an article about Google announcing its new algorithm update, marking the search giant’s shift away from using simple keywords to determine what to show in search results. The move highlights Google’s ambition to better deal with longer, more sophisticated user queries.
The new algorithm, called “Hummingbird,” was presented at Google’s 15th birthday party last Thursday. However, the actual launch was last month, Google’s senior vice president of search Amit Singhal said. He also noted that at present, Google processes nine in 10 searches across the globe.
In a nutshell, Hummingbird is the engine behind Google’s organic search results that understands queries better than ever, focusing more closely on the meaning behind words. It finds the associations between many things, and uses this relationship to respond to more complex queries. The algorithm pays attention to each word of the query, ensuring that the whole sentence or conversation is taken into account, rather than separate words.
What also makes the algorithm outstanding is the ability for it to remember the context of previous conversations, and to provide results in future searches that are consistent with a users’ search history. The algorithm can recognise that the term “place” in the “What’s the closest place to buy the iPhone 5s to my home?” query, means a physical store. It can also understand a user’s location if it has been shared with Google, as well as recognising that “iPhone 5s” is a type of device that can be bought in particular stores.