Google searches get semantic goodies

In Wednesday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches Google offer "semantic" Web search. Not to mention more "pet picture portfolios"...

Juan Carlos Perez reports:

Google logo
Google Inc. has given its search engine an injection of semantic search technology, pushing the market leader into what many observers see as the future of Internet search.

The new technology will enable Google's search engine to identify concepts and associated terms related to queries, thereby improving the list of related search terms that are displayed along with search results ... Google has been criticized for using what is considered an aging approach to processing search queries based primarily on analyzing keywords and not on understanding their meaning.

Peter Young adds:

Google have announced the deployment of a ‘new technology’ that better understands concepts and relationships associated with a query. This technology will allow Google to offer a greater number of related searches to users via the search results (found at the bottom/top of certain searches).


As well as the extended related search functionality, Google have also announced the rollout of the extended snippets ... In searches of more than three words, the usual length snippet may not be enough for you to judge the result’s relevance. In these situations, Google will now look at extending the number of lines for the description to allow greater opportunity to see the result in context.

Stan Schroeder schays:

It points to Google making use of certain semantic web technologies. Related searches - the terms associated to your query which are sometimes displayed at the bottom of the search result page - are now more intelligently chosen through the use of a new technology (Google hasn’t given out any details about the technology in question).

Greg Sterling sighs:

Some people will use the term “semantic search” to describe the technology behind the new refinements. But that term has largely been drained of meaning through excessive use in my opinion. Yet, what Google says it’s doing is better “understanding” the relationships between queries and related concepts and presenting those as refinements.


[It] is based on the 2006 acquisition of “Orion.” Orion was a search technology announced in 2006. It never got a chance to fully develop or launch as a consumer-facing site.

Google's Ori Allon goes on and on (so here's a snippet):

We're deploying a new technology that can better understand associations and concepts related to your search, and one of its first applications lets us offer you even more useful related searches ... For example, if you search for [principles of physics], our algorithms understand that "angular momentum," "special relativity," "big bang" and "quantum mechanic" are related terms that could help you find what you need.


We are now able to target more queries, more languages, and make our suggestions more relevant to what you actually need to know. Additionally, we're now offering refinements for longer queries — something that's usually a challenging task. You'll be able to see our new related searches starting today in 37 languages all around the world.

Jay Hathaway stands to attention:

Longer snippets are something I've wanted for a long time. I hate it when I get really close to finding the entirety of the information I need without actually having to click through to a result, but the snippet comes up one word short. That frustration should be greatly decreased with longer snippets that attempt to show more of your search terms together.


The improvements to related terms ... should make narrowing down your results and finding what you want on Google even easier.

Daniel Tunkelang reacts:

The suggestions I see aren’t as good as, say, Kosmix ... If they believe that this feature can improve user experience, why are they putting the results at the bottom of the page (at least on all of my queries)?


While I see this enhancement as a step in the right direction for Google, I wonder if they have their hearts in it. Google used to promote refinements–actually faceted search refinements–on their product search site, but pushed those to the bottom too. It seems very hard for them to get away from the primacy of those ten blue links.

I’d like to get excited about Google embracing HCIR, especially after they were so kind as to let me lecture them about it.

And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

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