An important article for you to read!
With thanks to Gaston Bedard for posting this!
Google overhauls the way its search engine ranks websites
‘Hummingbird’ will affect 90 per cent of search requests, VP says
The Associated Press, September 27, 2013
Google has quietly retooled the closely guarded formula running its Internet
search engine to give better answers to the increasingly complex questions
by Web surfers.
The overhaul came as part of an update called “Hummingbird” that Google Inc.
has gradually rolled out in the past month without disclosing the
The changes could have a major impact on traffic to websites. Hummingbird
represents the most dramatic alteration to Google’s search engine since it
revised the way it indexes websites three years ago as part of a redesign
called “Caffeine,” according to Amit Singhal, a senior vice-president for
He estimates that the redesign will affect the analysis of about 90 per cent
of the search requests that Google gets.
Any reshuffling of Google’s search rankings can have sweeping ramifications
because they steer so much of the Internet’s traffic. Google fields about
two of out every three search requests in the U.S. and handles an even
larger volume in
some parts of Europe.
The changes could also drive up the price of Google ads tied to search
requests if websites whose rankings are demoted under the new system feel
they have to buy the marketing messages to attract traffic.
Company celebrates 15 years
The search ads and other commercial pitches related to Web content account
for most of Google’s revenue, which is expected to approach $60 billion this
Google disclosed the existence of the new search formula Thursday at an
event held in the Menlo Park, California, garage where CEO Larry Page and
fellow co-founder Sergey Brin started the company 15 years ago.
Google celebrates its birthday on Sept. 27 each year, even though the
company was incorporated a few weeks earlier. The company is now based in
Mountain View, California, at a sprawling complex located about seven miles
1,900-square-foot home where Page and Brin paid $1,700 US per month to rent
the garage and a bedroom. The co-founders’ landlord was Susan Wojcicki, who
is now a top Google executive and Brin’s sister-in-law.
Wojcicki sold the home to Google in 2006 and it is now maintained as a
monument to the company’s humble beginnings.
Google’s renovations to its search engine haven’t triggered widespread
complaints from other websites yet, suggesting that the revisions haven’t
resulted in a radical reshuffling in how websites rank in the
The Caffeine update spurred a loud outcry because it explicitly sought to
weed out websites that tried to trick Google’s search engine into believing
their content was related to common search requests. After Caffeine kicked
hundreds of websites that consistently won a coveted spot near the top of
Google’s search results had been relegated to the back pages or exiled
Hummingbird is primarily aimed at giving Google’s search engine a better
grasp at understanding concepts instead of mere words, Singhal said.
The change needed to be done, Singhal said, because people have become so
reliant on Google that they now routinely enter lengthy questions into the
search box instead of just a few words related to specific topics.
Adapt to smartphones
With the advent of smartphones and Google’s voice-recognition technology,
people also are increasingly submitting search requests in sequences of
spoken sentences that resemble an ongoing conversation. That trend also
factored into Google’s decision to hatch Hummingbird.
Just as Page and Brin set out to do when they started Google in a garage,
“we want to keep getting better at helping you make the most of your life,”
Besides Hummingbird, Google also announced a few other updates to existing
search features aimed at providing information more concisely so people
need to navigate to another website. These changes are part of Google’s
effort to adapt to the smaller screens of smartphones that aren’t well
hopscotching across the Internet.
The additions primarily affect Google’s “Knowledge Graph,” an
encyclopedia-like box that increasingly appears at the top or alongside the
search results, and
Google Now, a virtual assistant that tailors key information suited to each
user’s habits, interest and location.
Besides providing informational snapshots of famous people and landmarks,
the Knowledge Graph is now capable of comparing the attributes of two
different things, such as olive oil and coconut oil. It will also be
possible to ask the
Knowledge Graph to sort through certain types of information, such as the
creative evolution of various artists.
An upcoming update to Google’s search application for devices running
Apple’s mobile operating system will ensure notifications about personal
and errand reminders are also delivered on a smartphones or tablets running
on Google’s competing Android software. Google Now also will start flagging
new developments and information about famous people that have previously
The Associated Press, 2013