Google making search smarter with 'semantic' capabilities

March 16, 2012
Google says it is retooling its search machine to go beyond recognizing words in queries and begin understanding what it is people are asking for.

Google says it is retooling its search machine to go beyond recognizing words in queries and begin understanding what it is people are asking for.

The California-based Internet titan is intent on adding "semantic" capabilities to automatically comprehend meanings of phrases and questions to better fetch the online information being sought.

"Right now, our understanding is pretty darn limited," Google fellow and online search veteran Amit Singhal said of online search Thursday in a message posted at the company's Google+ online social network.

"Ask us for the 10 deepest lakes in the US 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," he explained.

To make search smarter, Google is tapping into the virtual brain of a Freebase database of knowledge regarding what things are and how they relate to one another.

Google acquired the "open-source knowledge graph" when it bought San Francisco-based Metaweb Technologies in 2010 for an undisclosed sum.

"In the time since, we've grown (Freebase) from 12 million interconnected entities and attributes to over 200 million," Singhal said.

"Our vision for this knowledge graph is as a tool to aid the creation of more -- an endless cycle of and insight."

Traditional formulas recognize words typed into query boxes and then deliver links to websites that appear relevant.

Google did not reveal a timeline for the evolution to "semantic" capabilities.

Google is perpetually tuning its search engine, and in January wove content from its social network and Picasa photo-sharing service into its to serve up personalized results to online queries.

"Search, plus Your World" lets people signed into Google accounts get results that include content approved for sharing by them or friends at + or Picasa.

"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," Singhal said.

"So stay tuned for updates on what will continue to be a long road ahead."

Explore further: Google buys Metaweb to 'improve search'

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1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2012
"Our vision for this knowledge graph is as a tool to aid the creation of more knowledge -- an endless cycle of creativity and insight."

Skynet jokes in 3... 2... :)
not rated yet Mar 16, 2012
Forget skynet, google has been trying to fancy up it's search for years, with pretty annoying results. Now you have to go out of your way to get it to search for some things, without it automatically thinking you meant something else.. Very irritating at times.

And now more unproven technology will be thrown at it, turning it into even less.
not rated yet Mar 16, 2012
We shouldn't be too critical of google. I think that if we really examine their role in modern society, it is hard to deny the good they do. Almost all of their services are free and their search results are accurate and intuitive. I am sure that if this new "semantic search" doesn't improve the quality of their search, they will back away from it.
not rated yet Mar 17, 2012
Heh another 'improvement' from the Evil Corperation of the month. What next i wonder.

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