The Journal stated that this will
directly affect between 10 and 20 percent of queries, which comes down
to billions upon billions of searches every month.
But as Search Engine Land
countered, these rumors might be bunk - Google Search already does most
of these things. It noted that Google has essentially been doing
semantic search for nearly a decade, and issuing facts and direct
answers for "so long that it's hard for me to even know exactly when it
Google did not immediately respond to questions from PCMag, and the Journal
said the company declined to comment on the story. The source of the
rumors is unclear, beyond a recent interview with Google search exec
Amit Singhal that the Journal cited in which he said Google's
future search will "better match search queries with a database
containing hundreds of millions of entities' – people, places, and
things – which the company has quietly amassed in the past two years."
Google has collected these so-called entities in part through the
2010 acquisition of Metaweb Technologies, whose index of 12 million
entities have since grown to 200 million since Google bought the
Singhal said future Google search will similar to "how humans
understand the world." Currently, for many searches "we cross our
fingers and hope there's a Web page out there with the answer," he said,
but the overhaul will bring Google into the "next generation of
Another result of this significant search makeover would be more places for Google to place ads. The Journal
said it's not entirely clear how this would work, but the revised
technology would make it possible for the Internet giant to serve up
more relevant ads. Additionally, more entities means more pages, which
in turn, means more ad space.
In spite of building privacy concerns following Google's recent consolidation of about 70 or so policies,
the company is absolutely the dominant player in Web search,
controlling about 66 percent of the market. However, the company founded
on the motto of "don't be evil" has faced mounting pushback from an
increasingly skeptical industry, as well as consumers.
At the beginning of the year, it began rolling out a new search initiative
dubbed Search Plus Your World. With this search update, Google taps
into results from its own Google+ social network, which prompted the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to file a letter with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
requesting that it look into the changes. Besides potential violations
being investigated, some critics argued that the changes have hurt the
quality of results.
Yesterday, meanwhile, a former Googler penned a scathing takedown of Google that criticized its increased focus on ads and social networking.
Last year, Google changed up its search algorithm to reduce rankings for low-quality sites, an effort known as Panda.