Dave Lloyd of ClickZ.com recently wrote, "People are becoming more sophisticated in their searching, using longer queries, more precise terms, and more contextual info in their queries. Clearly, there's exponentially more content on the Web than there was even five years ago, and this means the needle-in-a-haystack science of algorithms must become more sophisticated in finding the most effective answers for queries. The expanding use of mobile and voice technologies are also changing how we search. We've arrived at a place where literal matching by itself isn't good enough. In response, we're moving toward a new normal: semantic search. It's an idea that's been in the works for a long time and was described by the Web's creator Tim Berners-Lee in 2001 but is only recently going live in a way that affects regular users. Webster's Online Dictionary defines semantic this way: 'Of or relating to the meanings of words and phrases.' That's exactly what semantic search is about: figuring out the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in different contexts and for different purposes. It's more than just a matching system."
Lloyd continues, "As part of looking at intent and context, Hummingbird personalizes the search experience based on each user's geographical location, search history, social activity, and other cues. This means that two people might get very different results from the same search query. In fact, localization and personalization may eventually make ranking as we've known it obsolete as results become more akin to true 1:1 marketing. The actual hummingbird is a good metaphor for where Google wants to go with its capabilities: it's fast and precise."
Image: Courtesy Google