Google Search Becomes More Relevant

Less than 24 hours after our class discussion about how Google and other search engines value age as a key component in their search algorithms (sparked by Ruba’s comment about how a search for the Microsoft online store returns multiple, confusing, results) here comes the Official Google Blog with an update: Google Search now has a freshness algorithm.

From their blog:

“[T]oday we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.”

Um, 35 percent of searches? Whoa. What does this mean exactly?

What Google is trying to do is improve the relevance of search results given the time of your search. So if you type in “Summer Olympics” it’s going to assume you mean the 2012 London ones and not the 1900 ones. The adjustment affects recent events or hot topics like the Occupy movement, regularly recurring events like sports and elections, and frequent updates on topics like consumer reviews.

I tried this myself while doing a little research on which defense to play in my fantasy league, and sure enough one of the top 5 results was from two days ago – see photo below:

While I can’t go back and compare what the search results would have been for this specific query from before Google implemented this change, I’ve definitely experienced the annoyance of finding outdated results for a current event (e.g., “date of MLB All-Star Game” and getting years-old results.) So overall I am pleased and optimistic about this update and I have every reason to believe it will make for more effective searching.

Although apparently I made the wrong choice for a fantasy defense this week, regardless of my up-to-date search results. Stupid Raiders.

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About Lisa

Living in Vancouver and obsessing over food.

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  1. Session 5 : Personas and Audience Analysis « COM585 - 9 November 2011

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