Plans are currently in place to roll out Semantic Search for Google over the next few months. After some adjustments to the Google search algorithm, the search giant will begin to ‘learn’ and be capable of making associations between search terms.
So what exactly is Semantic Search?
According to Wikipedia, it’s an improvement on accuracy, but if you peruse any Internet forum or message board, they will tell you it’s a way to make search even less relevant. The theory behind this form of search lies in the way we search for particular pages on the Internet. While Semantic Search won’t make any difference to ‘Navigational’ search—where the user utilises search to find a particular page—it will, however, be beneficial to those with a ‘Research’ style. In this case, the user doesn’t know which exact page they are looking for, but instead has an idea of the kind of information they want to find when they get there.
Search engines like Bing already use Semantic search; claiming to take some of the decision making process out of the debacle of searching. But do we really want to relinquish this kind of control? And will this make it even more difficult to find accurate results for exact phrases. Sometimes you don’t want a search engine to guess what you mean, you just want it to return results containing a particular phrase.
Google has been under fire since the decision to make +1’s—a feature of their social network—an influential part of search results. Will this most recent change mark the beginning of their fall? Google got to where it is today by having few competitors, and by doing a pretty good job. But, Internet users are a fickle crowd, and it would only take a few poor search results to send people elsewhere.
How do you feel about Semantic Search?