Google as a company may have spread out into several different areas, but search is still very much its bread and butter. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is set to modify the way the search engine operates in an attempt to maintain its pole position in the market.
Google are poised to switch to a new “semantic search” system, which will analyze the meaning of words and phrases that are searched for, and present relevant information and facts as opposed to a typical ordered list of ranked results.
Amit Singhal, a search executive at Google, posted to Google+ to explain further:
Let me just say that every day, we're improving our ability to give you the best answers to your questions as quickly as possible. In doing so, we convert raw data into knowledge for millions of users around the world. But our ability to deliver this experience is a function of our understanding your question and also truly understanding all the data that's out there. And right now, our understanding is pretty darn limited. Ask us for “the 10 deepest lakes in the U.S,” and we'll give you decent results based on those keywords, but not necessarily because we understand what depth is or what a lake is.
The move is expected to provide a more intelligent search system, which will understand the context and meaning of words instead of simply scanning webpages. Singhal has said previously that the company is building a huge database of information, including “people, places, and things”, that will help them achieve that goal.
The functionality would be similar to Wolfram Alpha, which provides answers to similarly poised questions right now. The new technology is expected to be rolled out within the coming months, and that it will be integrated into existing search results rather than be presented as an entirely new product.