Report: Google plans to reinvent search by understanding words

Google is reinventing its Web-search technique with direct information for queries to better maintain the majority market share.

The Wall Street Journal said Google aims to replace some Web links with summarized answers and facts. The search formula transition will roll out over the next few months as the search engine begins to merge relevant results with semantic search, which attempts to understand the meaning of words versus keyword identification. One source said the change could influence 10 percent to 20 percent of all search queries.

Under the new strategy, a search for “Mount Everest” will display key attributes, such as the mountain’s location, altitude, or geographical history, aggregated from Google-indexed websites. Longer queries might uncover a real answer instead of links to websites. For example, the question “What are the 10 largest mountains in the United States?” would subsequently reveal a list of mountains and not ambiguous links to various state parks or hikers’ fan pages.

Google’s top executive Amit Singhal told WSJ that the new search results are the product of hundreds of millions of “entities” stored in a database. The company’s Metaweb team of 50 engineers painstakingly gathered particulars on people, places, and things over the last two years to build an immense collection for associating different words through semantic search.

More information is available below.

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Google I/O registration opens 7 a.m. PDT March 27, last year it took less than an hour to sell out

Google opens its registration for its annual I/O conference on March 27. Remember, tickets sold out last year in under an hour so set your alarms!

The conference also moved from May to June this year where Google will debut many new technologies, including some Glasses hopefully. While we do not have official word on the Glasses “Project WingFront,” we were told by a Google employee that this year’s I/O was going to be “totally insane.” Perhaps so insane that Google moved from a two-day format to three days this year.

 

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Google also updated its I/O website with some fun and games. Read more

Google publishes uncut video of weekly search quality meeting

Google decided to publish uncut video from its search quality meeting today where the company discusses and makes decisions about changes to the algorithm and infrastructure used for Google search. This is the first time Google published footage from the meeting, but the company said in a post on Google+ that it would continue doing so for each weekly meeting going forward as part of its “continued effort to be more transparent about how search works.” For this week, the group discussed issues with spelling for long queries.
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‘Google Search’ app launches for Windows Phone

Microsoft is slinging mud at Google recently with bitter videos and critical advertisements, but the Internet giant is staying silent and has only thrown one thing at the Windows company: The “Google Search” app.

“Find better results using Google from your Windows Phone. Search the web faster and easier with the latest features: Google Autocomplete, My Location, and Voice Search,” announced the app’s description.

More information is available below.

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Previously-searched places now available on Android, iPhone

Google rolled out a handy new feature yesterday to its mobile search page on Android and iPhone smartphones that provides access to the list of past places-related search queries. According to a post over at the official Google Mobile blog, the new Recent icon “shows information about places you have recently searched for on any of your devices.” You must be logged in to your Google Account when searching for places (such as the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco). Web History must also be enabled. Users can swipe to the right to see more icons for other categories of places.

Next time you are heading to a place you have recently searched for, no need to worry if you can’t remember the address or phone number. Just go to Google.com on your smartphone and tap on the “Recent” icon.

This improvement also allows you to research places of interest on your desktop and view them later while on the go— without having to bookmark or email places’ URLs to yourself. One thing to keep in mind: This information about your previously searched places will be available under the Recent icon for about a day, Google said. This handy new feature is the first in a series of enhancements aimed at unifying search experience across devices.

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Did Google really lose 7 percent of its search market share last month, mostly to Baidu?

Baidu is China’s largest search engine with a not-so secret mission to dominate the global market, and while most chuckle at the thought of it surpassing Google, one might be surprised to learn the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet giant lost 7 percent of its search market share to Baidu last month.

According to the well-regarded statistics firm NetMarketShare, Google dropped 7 percent in Desktop Top Search Engine Share Trend in February while Baidu gained a little over 6 percent. Bing, Yahoo, and other competitors remained stagnant. As seen in the chart below the break, Google and Baidu have paralleled each other in terms of share fluctuations since November 2011.

Beijing-headquartered Baidu offers a range of Web services similar to Google, including maps, news, search ranking, e-commerce, Internet TV, a browser, and a smartphone operating system based on Android OS. The firm is adamant about its business not being a Google-clone, though.

Baidu’s Director of International Communications Kaiser Kuo explained to CNN (in the 2010 video above) that CEO Robin Li actually filed a hyperlink analysis patent before Google’s cofounder Larry Page. The filing indicates Baidu envisioned the future of search long before Google dominated cyber space…

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French privacy agency tries to kibosh Google’s privacy policy just days before roll out

The National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties announced today that Google’s new privacy policy might violate European Union law.

The allegation comes just days before the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet giant planned to enact the policy that unveiled last month. Google said the updated policy streamlined privacy practices for 60 different services engaged around the globe to bring transparency and clarity.

“We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read,” explained Google’s policy website.

A portion of the letter.

The French privacy agency picked a bone with the search engine’s intent and wrote a letter (PDF) to Google’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Page that painted the new rules as questionable. The central focus of the letter inquired how Google would use the reaped private data, but it is well-known the advertising firm collects personal information from tracking cookies to build targeted ads.

“Rather than promoting transparency, the terms of the new policy and the fact that Google claims publicly that it will combine data across services raises fears about Google’s actual practices,” wrote the agency, also known as CNIL, in the letter. “Our preliminary investigation shows that it is extremely difficult to know exactly which data is combined between which services for which purposes, even for trained privacy professionals.”

The new policy takes effect March 1, and while users’ privacy preferences remain, the new arrangement allows Google to gather and implement user data across its services. Google is charging ahead with Search plus Your World, Gmail, Picasa, YouTube, and Google+, so it is probably just connecting all the loose legal ends to make one continuous experience….

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‘And the Oscar winners are…': Track search patterns with Google Insights to predict envelope names

Google Insights for Search is a handy tool that helped the Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine predict last year’s Oscar winners by tracking search pattern behaviors, and the Internet giant has decided to test its service again with this year’s red carpet lineup.

The Academy Awards is the most popular entertainment award show in terms of search volume. The convolute of searches subsequently create a prime foundation for Googlers to analyze patterns. Google’s Rebecca Mall, an entertainment account executive, took to the Official Google Blog today to “open the (search) envelopes and see who the Oscar (may) go to this year,” according to Google Insight’s reaped Web information.

More information is available below.

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Google including upcoming concerts and links to tickets in search results

Google announced on the Official Google Search blog today that it would incorporate upcoming concert listings in search results. When previously searching for a band or artist, you would usually get its official website with songs and snippets that Google introduced in August of last year. After today’s update, Google will now display concert listings from various sources underneath the result for the band or artist’s official website. The new listing also includes links to various ticket dealers and a link to “Show more events.” Site administrators can add rich snippets markup to their web pages and follow instructions to mark up events. The feature is now only available to English-speaking users searching through Google.com.
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Google implements lists for health-related queries, aims to help Googlers refine searches

Google improved its search engine once again by aggregating health-related web content to the top of its main page when users search for symptoms.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company took to the Official Inside Search Google Blog today to announce how often people search for health information, as well as what the search engine is doing to make the process easier for Googlers.

“Every day, people search on Google for health information. Many of these searches relate to symptoms they or their loved ones may be experiencing,” wrote Chief Health Strategist Roni Zeiger, MD. “Our data shows that a search for symptoms is often followed by a search for a related condition.”

More information is available below.

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Google and the Super Bowl: Mobile browsing, YouTube uploads skyrocket



Americans were busy consuming record amounts of chicken wings and dip during yesterday’s big game, but they were also mobile web browsing more than ever before.

According to an official Google blog post, United States viewers used their tablets and smartphones to Google the Giants and Patriots, halftime acts and the best Super Bowl advertisements.

“In fact, around 41 percent of searches related to [Super Bowl ads] that were made during the game came from mobile devices, up from 25 percent for the same time the day prior,” wrote software engineer Jeffrey Oldham.

The Super Bowl XLVI streamed live for the first time this year, and a soaring spike in related searches came with the flagship circumstance. Predominate searches initially came from desktop devices, but mobile devices leaped forward as the four-hour game launched into full swing.

Read below for more details on Google and the Super Bowl.

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Google addresses new privacy policy concerns in letter to Congress

Following the introduction of Google’s new privacy policy, late last week we reported government officials issued a statement and planned to request that the Federal Communications Commission launch a probe to investigate the changes. In response, Google has now issued its own letter to Congress addressing some of the concerns and detailing important issues that are not changing.

Before answering the questions presented in the letter from Congress, Google took some time to outline aspects of its policies that will not change. Among them: Google reminded Congress that the new policy will only apply to users signed into a Google account, while those signed in can still access the usual privacy settings like turning off search history, tailoring ads within Ads Preferences Manager, and setting Gmail chat to “off the record.”

Google noted, “The privacy policy changes don’t affect our users’ existing privacy settings. If a user has already used our privacy tools to opt out of personalized search or ads, for example,” they will remain opted out. The company also made it clear the new policy will not collect any new or additional data. Google further clarified how users will be able to access multiple accounts:

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