It’s no surprise that Google employs artificial intelligence to help parse search queries, but it did surprise me to learn that a full 15% of Google searches are ones its systems have never seen before. It’s these that the company has been decoding with the help of an AI system called RankBrain, reports Bloomberg.

For the past few months, a “very large fraction” of the millions of queries a second that people type into the company’s search engine have been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system, nicknamed RankBrain, said Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist with the company, outlining for the first time the emerging role of AI in search.

As you’d expect, Google uses literally hundreds of different ‘signals’ to make sense of searches, and the vast majority of these are based on discoveries and insights that people in the team have had – but RankBrain is the first system that genuinely learns … 

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Corrado said that has quickly become the third most important signal, especially when it comes to processing ambiguous queries. Trying to deliver search results without it would, says the company, “be as damaging to users as forgetting to serve half the pages on Wikipedia.”

RankBrain is already outperforming even the most well-informed human beings, notes the piece.

Google search engineers, who spend their days crafting the algorithms that underpin the search software, were asked to eyeball some pages and guess which they thought Google’s search engine technology would rank on top. While the humans guessed correctly 70 percent of the time, RankBrain had an 80 percent success rate.

The full piece over at Bloomberg is an interesting read.

Google employs AI in a range of capacities, including its famous self-driving cars, data centersmusic and voice search. It has teamed up with, or acquired, AI experts from around the world.

Via TNW

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