Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

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

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the you-can-almost-drive dept.

Google 46

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."

cancel ×

46 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Tomorrow, not today (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#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:Tomorrow, not today (2, Interesting)

suso (153703) | about 10 months ago | (#44965553)

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.

Re: Tomorrow, not today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44965567)

I am sorry to disappoint you but Google displays a cake if it's your birthday and you have it on G+

Re: Tomorrow, not today (1)

relyimah (938927) | about 10 months ago | (#44965601)

I am sorry to disappoint you but Google displays a cake if it's your birthday and you have it on G+

... Except that Parent said "for the first two years"... which I took to mean the first two years Google was active... not the last 2 years that G+ has been active...

Re: Tomorrow, not today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44967731)

It wasn't the first two years of Google as they didn't used to change up the graphic in the beginning, but it was quite a few years before G+.

Re:Tomorrow, not today (1)

snowtigger (204757) | about 10 months ago | (#44966529)

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

Re:Tomorrow, not today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44967637)

Google was born in Menlo Park, California. No amount of travel across the international date line will make you age faster than the natural progression of time.

Re:Tomorrow, not today (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 10 months ago | (#44968207)

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

So what? (4, Funny)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#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.

Re:So what? (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44965787)

And how exactly do you define and measure "improvement" in order to conclude that there was none.

Re:So what? (4, Interesting)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 10 months ago | (#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? (5, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about 10 months ago | (#44966165)

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.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44967215)

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.

I tried the same search in google for "NSTableView" and never once did UITableView popup. What a f'in retard. I bet he's an Android hater

Re:So what? (2)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | about 10 months ago | (#44967573)

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.

Re:So what? (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44967751)

Which by itself means there were improvements after all.

Re:So what? (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#44968311)

No, it means that a regression was fixed.

Re:So what? (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44970425)

Or that haters like you are talking bullshit without anything to substantiate them...

Re:So what? (0)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#44982031)

You may need to work on your reaction to being corrected. If it helps, it was nothing personal.

Re:So what? (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44982589)

Man, if you call this "correction" you need psychiatric help and urgently.

Re:So what? (0)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#44984021)

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!

Re:So what? (2)

DoctorBonzo (2646833) | about 10 months ago | (#44969103)

I'd never noticed the "Search tools" before. Looks to be quite useful. Thanks.

Re:So what? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 10 months ago | (#44977071)

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 came up as the top three results unless I specifically excluded it.

Re:So what? (1)

swillden (191260) | about 10 months ago | (#44978859)

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 two strings are very similar, someone searching for the former is probably not interested in information about the latter.

If you think about it, your complaint that maybe "Google thinks I should be programming for iOS" is very interesting. Making connections like that is something that human brains do automatically and so effortlessly that we often don't even realize we do it. But until very recently, Google didn't do that at all. Google searches were originally pure string searches with a clever ranking algorithm based on counting links. The ranking algorithm was improved bit by bit over time, but until very recently it was still just pure string searches with clever ranking. It's now progressing towards actually knowing what real-world entities the strings refer to, how those entities are related to other entities and what that implies about what the searcher is actually seeking.

Personally, I expect Google search to get dramatically more effective as knowledge graph data is more thoroughly incorporated. Ideally, the "verbatim" option should become irrelevant and go away, because the search engine should understand what you're looking for and know when to be literal and when to cast a wider net. To be maximally effective will require personalization as well. It's the difference between a smart "grep" and an intelligent personal assistant who knows you, understands what you're trying to accomplish and gives you what you need -- including knowing when you need a smart grep.

Re:So what? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 10 months ago | (#44982747)

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.

Re:So what? (1)

swillden (191260) | about 10 months ago | (#44983109)

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.

Re:So what? (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 10 months ago | (#44966197)

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).

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44967635)

thats because the + operator means every single instance of and the "" operator means "exactly this"

As someone who writes and maintains their own search engine that is of a decent size, the + operator is very very expensive - probably even for google's server farm

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44967703)

I'd like to see your search engine.

Re:So what? (1, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#44968319)

"El Presidente is a duplicitous cunt."

"Well..well.. how many countries have YOU run?"

Re:So what? (1)

mrprogrammerman (2736973) | about 10 months ago | (#44968469)

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.

Hangouts is the source of the bug (0)

steelfood (895457) | about 10 months ago | (#44965831)

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.

iGoogle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44965841)

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

Re:iGoogle (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 10 months ago | (#44965933)

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 upset that it was being yanked.

Re:iGoogle (1)

relyimah (938927) | about 10 months ago | (#44966101)

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.

Re:iGoogle (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 10 months ago | (#44968215)

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.

hummingbird ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44966183)

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.

Re:hummingbird ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44966785)

hummingbird = hummer where your boyfriend doesn't swallow :)

hope for the best; expect the worst (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44966439)

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.

Re:hope for the best; expect the worst (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 10 months ago | (#44972379)

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.

Push notifications (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44966517)

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

Re:Push notifications (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 10 months ago | (#44967159)

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.

Hummingbird is a CIA trojan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44966645)

It's not Google's project at all, they're just using that as cover. Project Hummingbird is a long-range biometric identification program, developed by a CIA hacker named Auggie Anderson, with the ultimate purpose stated by a high-ranking CIA official as "a way to track anybody anywhere".

genius knackered (1, Interesting)

epine (68316) | about 10 months ago | (#44967421)

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 almost believed their principal technology was a time machine. Lately I'm beginning to wonder if the time machine has its dial permanently welded at 2010.

Re:genius knackered (1)

casab1anca (1304953) | about 10 months ago | (#44968201)

It was something about indexing and knowledge.

It was also something about not being evil...

google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44968571)

yawn

Give us "classic Google" from before 2008! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44970613)

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.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>