Google celebrated its 15th birthday by announcing it had overhauled the algorithm that powers its search tool. Google’s Senior VP and chief of search, Amit Singhal, announced that the company had implemented a new algorithm codenamed “Hummingbird,” which had been active for almost a month. It affects 90 percent of search results, indicating the new algorithm is a major overhaul. Google keeps making minor adjustments to its search algorithm from time to time.
Google calls the update Hummingbird to reflect being precise and fast like the bird. This is by far the biggest algorithm overhaul that has happened in the search engine’s history though it kept adding new features to the algorithm with updates like Penguine, Panda and others. Google says that Hummingbird had 200 different ingredients and Page Rank continues to be one of them.
The biggest reason for implementing Humming bird was to serve the changing usage of search. Rather than Boolean commands, Google was increasingly catering to conversational queries – a direction the company has also taken by encouraging users to use voice search and services like Google Now. Google claims that Hummingbird update will serve better search results with queries that have context attached to them. With Hummingbird, Google would automatically attach the context – time, location, contacts among others – to search queries in order to make the results more meaningful to individual users.
Google also announced changes to its mobile search where it added new features and cross platform compatibility. It is too early to see what impact Hummingbird has for publishers, it is certainly looking good for users.