Google Launches Huge Overhaul Of Search Algorithm (Which You Probably Didn’t Notice)

Google celebrates the big 1-5 with a new algorithm.

Google celebrates the big 1-5 with a new algorithm.

Back when the Internet was but a newfangled toy, you might’ve searched for things on Google like, “What is a Google?” But now that searches are more involved (“What is that movie with the guy from that TV show starring Gary Sinise with the talking dolphin and time travel?”) Google says it’s rolled out a massive change in its search algorithm in the last month to handle difficult queries. Not that you necessarily noticed.

Google said yesterday that this overhaul is one of the biggest changes its implemented to its search engine, with a rewriting of its algorithm so it can handle the complex searches affecting 90% of all queries overall, reports the New York Times Bits blog.

It hadn’t performed such a reworking on this scale since 2000, and it’s safe to say the Internet has changed quite a bit since the turn of the century. From now on, searches will attempt to take on the meaning of what you’re looking for and how it relates to other things, instead of just spitting out the right keywords. It all sounds very existential.

Company bigwigs say the changes came about because Google users aren’t simply looking for things like “funny cats” but instead have complicated demands that they need answers for. Often users search on their phones using voice commands, which can be more convoluted.

The new algorithm is called Hummingbird, and was revealed to the world yesterday at an event celebrating Google’s 15th birthday in the very same garage where the company’s founders started the whole thing.

Google’s staying mum on how exactly Hummingbird works, however, adding that consumers might not even have noticed a difference in search results in the last month.

I just asked Google to tell me all its deepest darkest secrets and it did not oblige to my satisfaction, so you guys still have some work to do. Just sayin’.

Google Alters Search to Handle More Complex Queries [Bits Blog]