Google gets semantic search

Google has given its Web search engine an injection of semantic technology, as the search leader pushes into what many consider the future of search on the Internet.

Share

Google has given its Web search engine an injection of semantic technology, as the search leader pushes into what many consider the future of search on the Internet.

The new technology will allow Google's search engine to identify associations and concepts related to a query, improving the list of related search terms Google displays along with its results, the company announced in an official blog on Tuesday.

"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," wrote Ori Allon, technical lead of Google's Search Quality team, and Ken Wilder, team engineer at the company's Snippets project.

Google has often been criticised for using what is considered an aging approach to solving search queries based primarily on analyzing keywords and not on understanding their meaning.

Google executives over the years have acknowledged that semantic search technology will be an important component of search engines in the future.

"Right now, Google is really good with keywords and that's a limitation we think the search engine should be able to overcome with time," Google Vice President of Search Products & User Experience Marissa Mayer said in an interview with IDG News Service in October 2007.

"People should be able to ask questions and we should understand their meaning, or they should be able to talk about things at a conceptual level. We see a lot of concept-based questions -- not about what words will appear on the page but more like 'what is this about?'. A lot of people will turn to things like the semantic Web as a possible answer to that."

She cautioned, however, that Google sees semantic search technology as part of the algorithmic mix, not as a replacement to its traditional keyword-analysis approach.

"What we're seeing actually is that with a lot of data, you ultimately see things that seem intelligent even though they're done through brute force," she said.

Follow highlights from ComputerworldUK on Twitter