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Google wants to search for nouns in a shift toward semantics

Marc Sanchez Mar 15, 2012

People, places, and things are what Google says its new “semantic search” will focus on. Over the next few months, the Googs will change its search algorithm to not only look at the exact words you might type in it, but the ideas surrounding those words as well. Sounds heavy, and it is. Semantic search is based on over 200 million previously searched words and terms, which will all be gathered, sifted and cross-referenced for you in the blink of an eye. Theoretically, your searches will be more useful and resemble more how people think, and do we really need to ask what’s in it for Google.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Under the shift, people who search for “Lake Tahoe” will see key “attributes” that the search engine knows about the lake, such as its location, altitude, average temperature or salt content. In contrast, those who search for “Lake Tahoe” today would get only links to the lake’s visitor bureau website, its dedicated page on, and a link to a relevant map.

For a more complex question such as, “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?” Google might provide the answer instead of just links to other sites.

That’s the other shift, more answers on the site itself. Don’t worry, you’re still going to find pages and pages of links to help you solve your query. Google is trying to give an educated guess as to what you might be looking for.Do we really need to ask why Google is making the change, because the answer is almost always the same: money. The longer you stay on its search pages, the more advertisers will be enticed to buy ads. If you’re running a website, the changes could have implications on how people find you. Right now Google’s search algorithms focus on keyword searches and factor in how many times your site is clicked on or linked to. But soon web designers may have to reconsider the language used to get the attention of a semantic web search.

The switch to semantic search is going to be a slow process, so don’t expect any drastic changes right away. Hopefully Google will stretch out the learning curve to resemble more of a ripple than the hump of a camel.

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