Google Overhauls Search Engine Formula
Google Inc has overhauled its search formula that runs the internet's dominant search engine, to better cope with longer, more complex queries from web users.
The company secretly launched its latest "Hummingbird" algorithm about a month ago in a bid to keep pace with the evolution of internet usage, Amit Singhal, senior vice president, said.
Google is describing it as the most dramatic alteration to its search engine since it revised the way it indexes websites three years ago.
As search queries get more complicated, traditional keyword-based systems begin deteriorating because of the need to match concepts and meanings in addition to words.
Mr Singhal, writing in a separate blog post, said: "Remember what it was like to search in 1998? You'd sit down and boot up your bulky computer dial up on your squawky modem, type in some keywords, and get 10 blue links to websites that had those words.
"The world has changed so much since then: billions of people have come online, the web has grown exponentially, and now you can ask any question on the powerful little device in your pocket."
"Hummingbird" is the company's effort to match the meaning of queries with that of documents on the internet, said Mr Singhal from the Menlo Park garage where Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin conceived their now-ubiquitous search engine.
It is a change that could have a major impact on traffic to other websites.