It’s not all that amazing for Google to make changes to its search algorithm. Search is the bill payer for the whole Google enterprise, and even though Google clearly owns the market, it’s going to keep tweaking to perfect what it has going on. What’s interesting about this latest round is that Google’s talking about what it did, something we never see much from the Googs (Google and I go way back, I call it Googs). The reason why is probably political. Google is coming under increasing pressure from various governments (a lot of pressure in Europe, a little here with the potential to grow) over its search practices. Specifically, a lot of people are upset that Google returns search results for its own products over those of its competitors. In a world where Googs has 65% share in the US and over 90% in other parts of the world, that’s seen as anti-competitive.
Among the changes: longer snippets of page content and cross language retrieval (a result in Norwegian will translate automatically because not that many people speak Norwegian). Lots more geek chow about it here.