Amit Singhal, senior vice president of search, announced that the company launched its latest “Hummingbird” algorithm about a month ago and that it currently affects 90 percent of worldwide searches via Google.
Google is trying to keep pace with the evolution of Internet usage. As search queries get more complicated, traditional “Boolean” or keyword-based systems begin deteriorating because of the need to match concepts and meanings in addition to words.
“Hummingbird” is the company’s effort to match the meaning of queries with that of documents on the Internet, said Singhal from the Menlo Park garage where Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin conceived their now-ubiquitous search engine.
Google has updated its core algorithm that controls the answers we get to queries on its search engine in a bid to make them work better for longer, more complex questions.
The update, code-named Hummingbird, is the biggest change to the underpinnings of the world’s leading search engine since early 2010, when Google upgraded its algorithm to one it called Caffeine. Google made the change about a month ago, it announced at a press event in the garage of the Menlo Park (Calif.) house where Google started. The event also celebrated the 15th anniversary of Google’s founding, which is tomorrow.
Most people won’t notice an overt difference to search results. But with more people making more complex queries, especially as they can increasingly speak their searches into their smartphones, there’s a need for new mathematical formulas to handle them.