Google reveals new Hummingbird search algorithm to better handle natural speech
News was announced at a press conference in the garage where Sergei Brin and Larry Page first launched the search engine
Google has announced the first major upgrade to its search engine in three years. Named ‘Hummingbird’, the new search architecture is designed to respond to longer and more naturalistic queries, reflecting the changing habits of internet users.
Whilst previous generations knew to phrase their searches to suit ‘machine language’, more users now expect to ask questions of their computer as they would a human – a change that has been emphasised by the increasing popularity of voice searches in smartphones.
In the presentation announcing Hummingbird a Google executive demonstrated the technology, using the voice search function on her smartphone to ask for pictures of the Eiffel Tower. She then asked how tall it was and for pictures of its construction - with Google returning first the correct height and then relevant images.
The changes also stressed that Google was more interested in offering users ‘answers’ rather than ‘results’. Whereas a search for ‘impressionist painters’ in 2008 might have bought up the relevant Wikipedia page followed by the websites of several museums, tyring this search in 2013 will bring up a gallery of relevant artists, curated by Google.
The same is true of an updated comparison feature, with Google’s chosen example being compared the saturated fat in olive oil and butter. Prefacing users’ search with the command ‘compare’ offers side by side stats for the two, with Google offering users the answer without them having to leave the site.
“We’ll keep improving Google Search so it does a little bit more of the hard work for you,” said Amit Singhal, senior vice president of Google Search. “This means giving you the best possible answers, making it easy to have a conversation and helping out before you even have to ask.”
“Hopefully, we’ll save you a few minutes of hassle each day. So keep asking Google tougher questions—it keeps us on our toes! After all, we’re just getting started.”
Google last upgraded its search algorithm in August 2009 to a new architecture named Caffeine. This was designed to deal more efficiently with fast-changing information from services like Twitter and Facebook.
A logo of Google's 'Hummingbird' search algorithm is pictured at the garage where the company was founded on Google's 15th anniversary in Menlo Park, California September 26, 2013.
Life & Style blogs
Men in tights: getting to the bottom of the latest trend
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Night Nurse could put drivers over new drug limit
Stephen Hawking: NHS is Britain's finest public service and must be preserved from commercial interests
Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...