SiliconFilter

Google Launches Major Update that Will Impact 1 Out of 3 Searches

/

Google today announced a wide-reaching update to its search ranking algorithm that will impact about 35% of all search queries. This improved algorithm will put a stronger emphasis on how recently a page was posted or updated. As Google puts it, “Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh.” Today’s update, says Google, will especially ensure that you will get more relevant results for searches related to recent events, regularly recurring events (think annual conference, elections, sports scores, information about TV dramas etc.) and when you search for topics where information is frequently updated (Google uses car and gadget reviews as examples here).

Bigger Than Panda

It’s worth noting that this update should be more noticeable for users than the so-called Panda updates Google rolled out earlier this year in order to combat the growing influence of low-quality pages from content-farms like Associated Content and Demand Media. The first of these updates, according to Google, only affected about 12% of all queries “to a noticeable amount” and a second, smaller update, changed about 6-9% of all queries.

Here is an example of what these fresher search results will look like when you search for a recent event:

It’s no secret that Google is obsessed with speed. While getting search results to users faster is one way of making search better, having more recent search results to begin with is obviously another way for Google to make its ten blue links more relevant. Google will have to ensure that its new algorithm doesn’t value freshness over relevance, though.



5:25 pm


How Many Users Does Google+ Really Have? 9,460,000

/

Google has been rather coy about sharing exact user numbers for its new social network Google+. Answer.com’s Paul Allen has been using an interesting statistical model to estimate the number of current users based on an analysis of the percentage of uncommon surnames he has found on the service. In his estimate, there should be about 10 million users on the service today. Now, it looks like there could be an easier way to discern the number of Google+ users, though. Jonathan Nelson, the founder of Google+ community site GooglePlusAnswers.com, argues that a simple Google search query could give us a pretty accurate user count without having to resort to complicated statistical models. (more…)



1:09 am


Google Autocomplete Gets Enhanced Predictive Powers

/

Google just announced an update to its autocomplete feature, which speeds up the search process by showing predicted searches while you type. Until now, Google mostly based its predictions by looking at the most popular searches. The problem with this, Google points out, is that the majority of search queries have never been typed in before and hence didn’t show any predictions. Now, however, Google is expanding this feature by “improving the predictive powers of autocomplete” for these seldom used queries as well by just looking at the last part of the query.

By just focusing on the last part of the query, this is obviously not as helpful as autocompleting longer queries, but will likely save users some time in the long run.

Google is rolling this new feature out today on google.com in English and will expand it to other languages and locales over time.



1:26 pm