AI has arrived at Google, after years of corporate acquisitions and experimental work with machine learning. It’s called RankBrain and it does the following:
RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.
Already RankBrain is the third most important ranking factor.
See Google Turning Its Lucrative Web Search Over to AI Machines by Jack Clark, Bloomberg, (Oct 26) for a video and description.
Danny Sullivan provides background and details in FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm [Search Engine Land, Oct 28] t RankBrian is not a new search algorithm: it is one more component (albeit important) the overall Hummingbird search algorithm introduced a couple of years ago.
Sullivan refers to the Bloomberg article and hazards a guess that the other two top ranking signals being used by Google are 1) links – still, in spite of problems with these, and 2) words – ie matching on the search terms. Sullivan also mentions that Google has been expanding words for several years – word variants and related words – and that these fit into selecting and ranking results. Google also employed entity analysis in providing answers through the Knowledge Graph.
Of interest: 15% of the 300 billion queries Google handles each day are new, and being new may lead to some adjustments to algorithms by the staff of search analysts .
Among those can be complex, multi-word queries, also called “long-tail” queries. RankBrain is designed to help better interpret those queries and effectively translate them, behind the scenes in a way, to find the best pages for the searcher.
For those wishing to know more about how RankBrain works with “word vectors”, Sullivan points to a couple of papers.
Greg Finn at Search Engine Land provides another synopsis – AI has officially made it’s way into Google’s search algorithm, here’s what you should know.
Can Bing be far behind in also employing AI for its search results?