So here it is then, Google have released their brand new baby called “Hummingbird’’ So what is it? Well… It is the biggest change to search since the “Caffeine Update in 2010”. It derives its name from being “Precise & Fast”. It’s a big one folks, 90% of searches worldwide will be impacted.
Although Google has kept its cards very close to its chest, it is said that Hummingbird is focused on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests. As the number of different webpages explodes, the searcher has to type more and more words into Google Search to gain results that are most relevant. Often we need to conduct multiple searches to find the information we are looking for, which is frustrating and time consuming.
The reason for this is because the information we receive back from the search engine only show the matching combination of key words that a search phrase contains, rather than the true meaning of the sentence. The new Hummingbird algorithm will focus on the full meaning of the search, rather than, like before, focus on matching up as many keywords as possible. With all this in mind, Hummingbird looks, in theory, to produce more accurate search results.
“For example Hummingbird will more greatly consider question words like “how” “why”, where” and “when” in search phrases, in addition to content keywords. Hence Hummingbird moves the emphasis of search from “results” to “answers”.
Google has now taken the number of mobile and voice-based searches into consideration and do understand that this is increasing. Such voice searches are in natural language, and may not therefore contain the keywords we might finesse on a computer keyboard. These ‘on the fly’ searches are likely to return results that are of less quality using a keyword search system. This is what Hummingbird looks to change.
So bearing that in mind, all of you apple IPhone users, you may or may not understand that Siri, uses Yelp and WolframAlpha rather than Google for semantic search. Yelp and WolframAlpha has had a semantic search capability since 2012, so there is undoubtedly a competitive response angle to the Hummingbird move. The future is therefore “conversational search” or “hot wording” as Google refers to it. By this Google means that a user can simply voice prompt the Google search engine by saying “OK, Google”. The latter is also the voice catch-phrase used to operate the wearable Google Glass spectacles.
Hummingbird is now going to massively affect the web; over 90 per cent of searches will undoubtedly be affected, to what degree however is unclear. One conclusion we can draw is that Google is seeking to retain more data for its own purposes, thus providing it with a unique ‘data competitive advantage’. This will allow Google to target consumers with advertising and promotions more accurately than any other advertiser or publisher.