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Google Announces Hummingbird Algorithm, Updates To Search, iOS App and Android 46

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-can-almost-drive dept.
rjmarvin writes "Google search is turning 15, and on a media field trip to the Menlo Park garage where Sergey Brin and Larry Page began the company, they rolled out a slew of product updates. Chief among them was the announcement of a new search algorithm called Hummingbird along with an updated Knowledge Graph and other search improvements, on top of updated Google Now cards for Android, push notifications for Google's iOS app and more."
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Google Announces Hummingbird Algorithm, Updates To Search, iOS App and Android

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @05:27PM (#44965497)

    As someone who's birthday is also September 27th, I can tell you that Google's birthday is tomorrow too, not today. Every year I'm greeted with a birthday graphic on the Google homepage. For the first two years, I just thought Google had somehow figured out when my birthday was and was customizing the page for me personally. But when I mentioned it to co-workers, it turned out they were only doing it for me :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by suso (153703) *

      Happy Birthday and exactly, I am also related to someone whose birthday is tomorrow, which is how I also remember it. Its amazing how with so much information at people's fingertips that they keep eroding facts.

      Tomorrow is also the 30th anniversary of Richard Stallman announcing the FSF/GNU initiative.

    • It's already September 27 in Australia. Problem solved.

    • There is a personalized birthday Doodle if you log in with your birthdate.

  • So what? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @05:55PM (#44965717)

    Google's not improved for a decade.

    The only reason it's still up there is that Yahoo's not improved for nearly two decades, and Microsoft can't do anything right.

    • And how exactly do you define and measure "improvement" in order to conclude that there was none.
      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Cinder6 (894572) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @06:17PM (#44965885)

        Not the parent, but I feel like the quality of Google search has gone down in a few ways. For instance, I found the old '+' operator much quicker and less cumbersome than enclosing the word in quotes.

        Further, I often abhor Google's "fuzzy" matching system. Sometimes it's great, like when you say "photo" and it also searches "picture", "photograph", etc. But other times, it's extremely frustrating. I was writing a Mac app a few months back, and I needed help on something specific with NSTableView. Google decided that UITableView was the same thing, and started showing results for that at the top. Incredibly annoying, and it kept showing up even if I used quotes (had to use "-uitableview" to get it to go away). Not sure if that was a bug or if Google just really thinks I should be programming for iOS.

        I think I run into the latter situation more often than the former. At least, that's what it feels like.

        • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

          by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday September 26, 2013 @07:04PM (#44966165) Homepage Journal

          Further, I often abhor Google's "fuzzy" matching system. Sometimes it's great, like when you say "photo" and it also searches "picture", "photograph", etc. But other times, it's extremely frustrating.

          When the fuzzy matching doesn't give you what you're looking for click on "Search tools" (just above the results), then the "All results" pulldown and "Verbatim".

          I tried to use your example to demonstrate, but even without verbatim mode I couldn't find a search result in the first half-dozen pages that mentioned "UITableView".

          However, I did notice one thing that was kind of funny: Next to the results pulldown there's a time pulldown. When I set it to "last hour" the top hit was your post above.

          • Further, I often abhor Google's "fuzzy" matching system. Sometimes it's great, like when you say "photo" and it also searches "picture", "photograph", etc. But other times, it's extremely frustrating.

            When the fuzzy matching doesn't give you what you're looking for click on "Search tools" (just above the results), then the "All results" pulldown and "Verbatim".

            I tried to use your example to demonstrate, but even without verbatim mode I couldn't find a search result in the first half-dozen pages that mentioned "UITableView".

            However, I did notice one thing that was kind of funny: Next to the results pulldown there's a time pulldown. When I set it to "last hour" the top hit was your post above.

            Guess that means the search algorithm is working better than it was when he made that search.

            • Which by itself means there were improvements after all.
              • No, it means that a regression was fixed.

                • Or that haters like you are talking bullshit without anything to substantiate them...
                  • You may need to work on your reaction to being corrected. If it helps, it was nothing personal.

                    • Man, if you call this "correction" you need psychiatric help and urgently.
                    • Ohhhh, you're that kook of low intelligence from a few days ago.

                      ...
                      Prima: The bug is fixed now.
                      Kook: Ah, an improvement!
                      Yours truly: No, that's fixing a bug which wasn't there before.
                      Kook: Bullshit EVERYTHING U SAY IS BULLSHIT.
                      Yours truly: Calm down. Nothing personal.
                      Kook: U NEED PSYCHIATRIC HELP NOWWW!!

                      Turns out there is such a thing as a free clown. Dance for me, clown! For your next fallacy, I suggest: moving the goalposts. 3..2..1.. go!

          • I'd never noticed the "Search tools" before. Looks to be quite useful. Thanks.
          • by Cinder6 (894572)

            Thanks for that suggestion. As to your not being able to see the same annoyance that I did with UITableView...

            It could have been fixed. It could be the fact that I don't remember any of the exact search strings (it happened a couple of times, and not just with NSTableView). Or it could be due to Google's search bubble thing. For what it's worth, searching for "nstableview bind data" brings up an article about UITableView as the 9th result. That's not as bad as it was when I was having the problem, where it

            • by swillden (191260)

              Note that unlike some of the people who responded to my post I wasn't saying you were being untruthful about what you saw, just that I couldn't reproduce it. It's not at all unlikely that the recent update fixed your particular search, especially since one of the changes is to use the knowledge graph more -- meaning that Google search now (probably) knows the difference between NSTableView and UITableView, knows that one is associated with OS X and the other with iOS, and understands that even though the tw

              • by Cinder6 (894572)

                If Google can perfect it, it could be an awesome tool. I guess I'll have to keep that in mind on the occasions when it comes up with something not right. I did just notice that I no longer seem to need to specify "bicycle" instead of "bike"--a year ago, I would get a lot of results for motorcycle stuff on searches like "best bike groupset". Then again, that might be a search bubble thing.

                • by swillden (191260)
                  I don't think the search bubble really exists yet, not in any significant way. The value of personalization is obvious (as are some of the risks -- which can be addressed by having the search engine deliberately throw in a few outside-the-bubble results) but I don't see a lot of it happening yet, except with respect to the really obvious things like geographical location.
        • by rsborg (111459)

          Not the parent, but I feel like the quality of Google search has gone down in a few ways.

          Google feels they're good enough. Now it's time for them to become more profitable. Sorry, but that's the single driving factor I feel has directed every move since Larry Page has become CEO. Perhaps this is for the best - there were times I wondered how sustainable Google was, given their seemingly un-matched altruistic aims (in the mega-corp space).

    • I think it's time we move away from searching by keywords to ideas. Searching by keywords require alot of work to maintain and has created the SEO industry. You should be able to give the search engine a complete thought and it have it go through it's knowledge base to find relevant ideas. That means instead of the search bots just keeping track of the keywords on webpages they will have to read through the webpage and form an idea of what the webpage is about.
  • I've had all sorts of issues with them trying to integrate hangouts into everything. At some point in time, I was banning people through my hangouts profile, even though I didn't even have one.

    Google, it's time to live up to your CEO's words and become adults.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They should devote some of their energy to maintaing iGoogle, used by many, instead of shutting it down to focus on these products.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      I remember the "replacements for google reader" thread here, on Slashdot at the beginning of 2013 and I was shocked at how many people claimed to use iGoogle as their main page. I tried using that for awhile, but it was such an ugly clunky pile of crap. It felt incredibly dated and if they weren't going to renovate it, ditching it seems to make the most sense.

      Not saying it had no value -- just my opinion of iGoogle when I tried to use it for a few months. It really was quite a surprise to hear so many here

      • by relyimah (938927)
        I actually found the opposite with iGoogle, so guess its a matter of preference... I've been using a Netvibes page since the announcement that they were removing iGoogle, and while it "looks" nicer, I've found all the widgets lag (ie I get twitter "search" updates hours later). Although, like everything, the only people you really hear from when something closes down are the ones that are using it ... so this makes it appear like a lot.
      • I liked iGoogle as a homepage back when I had a browser homepage, but these days the speed dial is more convenient than having a homepage.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    is the new search 'algorithm' that simultaneously runs database queries on two different server clusters -- one owned by google, the other by you-know-who.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hummingbird is the most comprehensive overhaul to the search engine since “Caffeine” in 2009.

    I'm hopeful that this means Google search results will suck less (like pre-2009 when the results were awesome), but (using their recent history as a guide) the search results are probably going to plunge even more into the suck.

    • by Wootery (1087023)

      I'm hopeful that this means Google search results will suck less (like pre-2009 when the results were awesome)

      You've given me no reason not to assume rose-tinted glasses are at work here.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They updated push notifications for their retasrded apps but pulled support for exchange ... Fuck you google.

    • by Albanach (527650)

      They updated push notifications for their retasrded apps but pulled support for exchange ... Fuck you google.

      They pulled support for a propriety protocol over which they had no control, in favor of supporting an open one. I don't see the problem.

  • genius knackered (Score:2, Interesting)

    by epine (68316)

    It's been so long since Google moved the bar on search in a substantive way, I've begun to wonder if they still hold true to their original vision. It was something about indexing and knowledge.

    Does it take a miraculous growth spurt of Wolfram Alpha to remind Google that innovation is still possible, fifteen years later? No matter if you burst onto the world stage shaming Picasso, any corporation that sits on its hands long enough eventually becomes part of the problem.

    For a while Google was so good one a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All I want is the option to go back to the crisp, precise, useful searches from before the big changes started around 2008. I want to be able to use +, -, and quotes to get EXACT terms. The current sloppy search that Google uses is just plain useless. I'm not saying get rid of the sloppy search for people who want it. I'm saying give us the good search back from before 2008 as an option.

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