Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm

In September 2013, Google announced that they will be using a whole new search algorithm in the form of the Hummingbird. This means that every search takes into account the whole context of the user as opposed to simply matching the keywords and linking them to the search results. In a sense, the algorithm takes the intent of the user in matching the search items to the results thus, producing better results to the users.


Previously, Google has introduced minor changes to their prior algorithm like the caffeine update or the penguin and panda updates five years ago. There were some tweaks but it is only in 2013 when they truly overhauled the whole algorithm. Why? Google believed that although their past algorithm has already been working wonders, they understand that there’s still room for improvement. They used to match each search in the facts listed in their knowledge graph which can be limiting. With Hummingbird, the match is expanded to include everything else that’s available in the web.


What makes Hummingbird useful is the fact that it takes into consideration the actual conversation searches of users. Previously, we only need to input the keywords to find ones that have them. Entering whole meaningful questions is useless. But now, Hummingbird takes that into account. Users can input their questions and the algorithm will deliberate the intent of the users thus, presenting better search results. It focuses on the meaning behind the use of the words as compared to previously when they only look into the word per se.


For example, if a user inputs where the best place is to buy a certain brand of laptop, the search results will show actual stores and the places that actually sells that brand. This is better as opposed to the previous algorithm which only focuses on the word buy and the laptop brand. It won’t really focus on the word place which is really the main intent of the user. But with Hummingbird, that is more possible and a better search will take place.



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