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Google Rolls Out Semantic Search Capabilities


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Google has added semantic technology to its Web search engine, which will enable it to identify associations and concepts related to a query, improving the list of related search terms Google displays next to the results. "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," write Google's Ori Allon and Ken Wilder in a company blog.

Google has been criticized for using what is considered an aging approach to solving search queries by analyzing keywords and not truly understanding their meaning. However, Google executives 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," says Google's Marissa Mayer. "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."

Mayer says semantic search technology will not replace traditional keyword searches, but instead will be part of an algorithmic mix. "I think the best algorithm for search is a mix of both brute-force computation and sheer comprehensiveness and also the qualitative human component," she says.

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