November 17, 2015
Crafting human search algorithm may soon be over after Google announced a new artificial intelligence referred to as RankBrain. It is meant to process “very large fraction” of searches per day. Google says the part of the new system has already being implemented to help Google better understand what is in the mind of people making queries each day. RankBrain is not meant to replace the current Google Algorithm, but instead part of the “hundreds” of signals Google use.
What is RankBrain?
RankBrain is a nickname referring to proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) which is currently used by Google to handle search queries and results. It is important to note that it is not currently a standalone technology being used at Google. Google uses it together with other algorithms to rank web pages. While there are other hundreds probably thousands of signals used by Google to rank websites, nobody outside the company has an idea how many they are. According to Greg Corrado, Senior research scientist for Google, RankBrain is the third most important signal to match the results for a search query. However, the executive declined to comment about the other two most important which comes before RankBrain.
Artificial intelligence systems are basically the computer systems which mimic the human cognitive functioning. It’s all about our brain – how we think and how it works to solve our daily issues. AI has real value in our lives especially performing many tasks which previously required human intervention to complete. For example, translation from one language to another, speech recognition, and basic decision making. Today’s computers have proved to be incredibly powerful; however, most of them are still very stupid considering they have to be told what to do. AI systems do not work that way. AI is essentially a “learning machine”. For AI systems, the more data it handles, the more it learns how to make decisions, and more effectively, it can use that intelligence to solve new problems in the future.
Google and Artificial intelligence
AI is the technology behind Google’s search ranking especially with its well-known Hummingbird update. Users are able to take advantage of semantic search by relying on Google’s AI technology to intuitively understand the relationship between various search terms. For example, if you search for “Bob Marley” to find out information about the musician, and then you search “where was he born?” Google would then assume that “he” referred to the previous search to mean Bob Marley based on the semantic and previous search query. AI has not only enabled Google to handle high volumes of search queries, but also offered a more responsive and intuitive experience, to allow users find information that meets their needs faster and easier. RankBrain is meant to interpret ambiguous search queries to produce the most specific search results. It therefore means that newer technologies will only make search results more accurate and handle greater volumes.
RankBrain and Paid Search
RankBrain is already affecting the paid search. The reason for developing RankBrain was to provide the users with more accurate search results based on the search queries that translate to websites they are looking for. For Google, when the search results are accurate, then the ads served based on the queries target the right users in a more effective way. It is however impossible to tell how RankBrain handle the commercial search queries. RankBrain handles roughly about 15 percent of the 100 billion search every day. It is hard to imagine that RankBrain is not involved in handling commercial queries.
Artificial intelligence is surely helpful in our real world and RankBrain is only one of the many AIs used to make our life better. The future is great for Google and many projects are in place to ensure that great future becomes a reality. Google’s driverless car is one search example, which is an application of machine learning. These vehicles must learn about the changing load conditions and intelligence such as drivers’ choices in real time again supporting the importance of AI.
Image: Naz Amir via Flickr Creative Commons
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