Google is planning to roll out several changes to its search engine over the next few months that will give people more than just the standard list of links and supplemental media, according to top Google Search executive Amit Singhal.
Singhal told the Wall Street Journal that results will now contain more semantic search information — meaning Google will be able to understand the true meaning of your queries, rather than simply relying on its current method of returning results of the most linked/trafficked sources across the web. The semantic results will allow search queries to better identify people, places, and specific things.
Basically, you’ll soon be able to type in a question to the Google search bar and get a relatively intelligent response, if all things go according to plan. For example, typing in “What are Nashville, Tennessee’s largest public parks?” would bring up a list of the parks, instead of just a link to a website that contained the same information. The company already offers this for simple search queries, but the practice will gain more of a spotlight in the coming months.
The search changes will be some of the biggest the company has ever implemented, and will likely affect search engine optimization techniques.
The company also recently rolled out a social search option, which returns results for queries based on your circle of friends from Google+. The option can be toggled off, much to the delight of annoyed web users everywhere. Google is also experimenting with a new “sources” feature, which spits out a side bar of relevant information for some people, places and events.