Google search gets semantic

March 24, 2009
A visitor walks past the logo of Internet search engine giant Google at a trade fair. Google on Tuesday modified its globally popular Internet search service to understand relationships between words, as the company bids to better grasp what Web users are looking for.

Google on Tuesday modified its globally popular Internet search service to understand relationships between words, as the company bids to better grasp what Web users are looking for.

Along with taking into account intended meanings of terms, beefed up results pages with longer snippets in summary paragraphs focused on what people appear to be seeking.

"We're deploying a new technology that can better understand associations and concepts related to your search," Google team technical lead Ori Allon and snippets team engineer Ken Wilder wrote in a blog post.

"We are now able to target more queries, more languages, and make our suggestions more relevant to what you actually need to know."

Internet search services have traditionally been based on matching key words typed into query boxes with words at websites or in other online data.

There has been growing interest in "semantic searches" that are smart enough to go beyond simply matching words to understanding what sentences or combinations of words mean.

A longstanding concern has been whether companies will be able to implement technology that can process the increasingly complex searches with the high speed that Internet users have come to expect.

Microsoft recently confirmed it is testing a it hopes will be more popular than its Live Search service that has long been mired in a distant third place behind Yahoo! and market leader Google.

Google on Tuesday rolled out semantic search capabilities in 37 languages.

Examples given by Wilder and Allon included a search in Russian for "fortune-telling with cards" yielding search results that included "tarot" and "divination."

A Google search in English for "principles of physics" triggers suggestions to inquire about "big bang" and "quantum mechanics."

(c) 2009 AFP

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not rated yet Mar 24, 2009
Not to mention Wolfram Alpha that will launch in May.
not rated yet Mar 24, 2009
As ground-breaking as Wolfram Alpha claims to be, I'm not so sure it's going to be your everyday go-to search engine.
not rated yet Mar 24, 2009
Yes the Wolfram Alpha seems to be limited to its own database (think Wiki) not like Google's large ones of the internet.

But even in conversation between two people context is sometimes hard to pass along. Hopefully, Google will let us use at least 2-3 sentences. For example copy a couple of sentences from an article you are interested in and paste those into Google.
not rated yet Mar 25, 2009
Google by its nature provides a general search. Whenever I'm doing research, entering a few key words on Google will provide me with websites on the subject. At the same time, I turn to Wiki for a more indepth look at the subject. (Sometimes I use Google to get there!) I imagine I'll use W/A in the same manner as Wiki. Today, I realized that I use Google to look-up words both for spelling and at times use, and translation. For example, The History Channel ran a show on the French Resistance during WWII and featured a word in German that was in an order from Berlin telling the commander that Paris was to be a "Trummerfeld" rather than be left to the Allies. From the context I figured it meant that Paris was to be destroyed, but it came at a commercial and I am inquisitive, so I typed it into Google and in .33 seconds found that it means "expanse of rubble/ruins". A few minutes later it only took .09s with several thousand more results. As long as Google sticks to its successful indexing business in whatever form, they remain the greatest threat to their own dominance.

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