November 7 2011: Indians are leading Google’s quest to improve its search engine and take on the challenge of ‘instant’ info resources like Facebook or Twitter. On November 3, Google announced significant tweaks to its search engine algorithm which are aimed at making over 35 percent of its results more up-to-the-minute. The improvements were described in a blog posted by Amit Singhal, IIIT Roorkee alumnus and a Google Fellow and the head of Google’s Search Quality team.
The details were explained by another Indian member of Google’s Search Technology team, Rajan Patel, Quantitative Analyst of Search Quality.
“Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.
If I search for [olympics], I probably want information about next summer’s upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics (the only time my favourite sport, cricket, was played). Google Search uses a freshness algorithm, designed to give you the most up-to-date results, so even when I just type [olympics] without specifying 2012, I still find what I’m looking for.
Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.
For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. Now when you search for current or for the latest news …you’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old.
Different searches have different freshness needs. This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.” Adds Dr Rajan Patel, who worked on the new algorithm. speaking to the New York Times: “These are “queries we don’t think we’re doing perfectly well on. We just realized that people expect Google to return the most up-to-date results for all kinds of queries, from hot topics to more general queries like a TV Show. “
Adds NYT: The algorithm uses technology that Google built last year in response to the greater speed at which people were publishing updates online. It is a Web indexing system it calls Caffeine, which crawls the Web more quickly, updating Google’s index of Web sites continuously instead of every couple of weeks. Thursday’s revision changes how Google ranks those links now that it has them in its index. Patel said.
Link to Google blog by Amit Singhal: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/giving-you-fresher-more-recent-search.html
Link to New York Times blog : http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/google-changes-search-algorithm-trying-to-make-results-more-timely/
See Amit Singhal explain Google Search in a ( London) Daily Telegraph Interview at our Tech Video spot for a few days.