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Google unveils new search algorithm

Graeme Parton

Google has updated the way in which it deals with the search requests of its  users.

The new Hummingbird algorithm was announced to the world in a presentation on Thursday last week, although Google actually began using it almost a month ago.

The update will affect more than 90 per cent of all searches made on the site and although the company’s spokesperson avoided giving too much away, it was made clear that Hummingbird would be particularly effective for more complicated queries.

Google also stressed the importance of adapting the way it works in order to keep up with users and how they like to search with more conversational language.

This also fits in well with an increase in the number of voice searches being carried out on mobile devices such as smartwatches and phones.

The latest update is said, by Google, to be more focused on understanding user searches than Caffeine, its last update, which was designed to better index websites. The engine is now better at interpreting concepts and words, as well as the relationships between each, to provide more useful results.

SEO firms will no doubt be eager to see how the changes affect the search landscape and the way consumers interact with Google, but some experts are saying it’s a bit soon to say how much of an impact Hummingbird will have. Search Engine Land founder Danny Sullivan, for example, said:

“For me this is more of a coming out party, rather than making me think ‘wow’.

“If you’ve been watching this space, you’d have already seen how they’ve integrated it into the [predictive search app] Google Now and conversational search.

“To know that they’ve put this technology further into their index may have some big payoffs but we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”

The unveiling event, which was held at the garage in Silicon Valley where Google was launched, also saw founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin release details of a new search app for Apple’s operating system, iOS.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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