Have you done any Google searches today? In 2018, Google's search engine turns 20 years old and the company took the opportunity to announce the arrival of new features, at an event this Tuesday (22). Now, research is smarter and users have access to more topics related to their search so they can continue exploring that topic.
The novelties have the participation of engineers based in Belo Horizonte and are part of a set of functions in which the internet giant has been working to improve the users' experience. Next, see how the tool looks and discover some curiosities about these two decades of history.
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Journey in related topics
Developed by engineers from the Belo Horizonte office, the new feature was already being tested in the United States since December 2017 and now arrives for Brazilians. With the novelty, when searching for a specific topic, the user will see, right at the top of the page, suggestions related to that topic. The idea that the search engine can anticipate future research based on previous consultations. For example, if you search for "Neymar" and then "Messi", you will receive recommendations from other players.
Journey on related Google search topics Photo: Divulgao / Google
Enhanced knowledge dashboards
The knowledge panels are those tables that appear in the search results with information about the topic researched. The novelty that they are now more intelligent and the suggestions of related contents are now appearing within the results of a search. For example, when searching for "surfing", the user will see information about related sports, such as snowboarding and kitesurfing.
Google search knowledge panels Photo: Divulgao / Google
Another novelty developed in Brazil, the snippet is a special highlight at the top of the page that contains a summary of the response and a link to the web page from which that excerpt was extracted. As of May, the tool will now be able to display more efficient results when the user lists two terms in the search.
For example, when searching for "Daniel Alves e Neymar", the user will see content about the two players together. A search for "Ivete Sangalo hair" will bring more specific results about the singer's hair and not generic things about her. The idea is that research can better contextualize the result (including images) of that topic.
Featured snippets from Google search Photo: Divulgao / Google
History and evolution of Google search
The search engine is the result of the idea of two graduate students who wanted to gather all knowledge on the Internet in one place, but that was able to display the most relevant results for each user. Thus, on September 4, 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the Google search engine.
Its great advantage was the tool called PageRank. Thanks to it, it was possible to organize the millions of links available on the web to deliver to people those who best answer your debt. Nowadays, Google's algorithm takes into account more than 200 criteria when offering search results. This includes, for example, the location of the user and even the authority of the sites offering responses.
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In the case of searches by cell phone, Google takes into account the design of smartphones, since they have a smaller screen; the location of users, which changes all the time; the slowest connection to the Internet and the difficulty to type. Therefore, the search engine often finds it more relevant to display the information sought in the form of a card than just links.
Despite all the evolution of search, Google engineers insist on highlighting that Google Search is not a product that is ready, on the contrary, it is always improving. A curious example cited by the executives refers to the search for "the game's result". The term is often searched by users, but the site is unable to answer.
Google has been working with other companies to improve search results. At this year's carnival, for example, the search giant joined the city halls of some Brazilian cities so that the tool was able to display relevant information (for folies or not) about the party. In this way, it was possible to consult the events and blocks of each place, as well as blockages in traffic and changes in public transport.
Google partners with other companies to improve searches Photo: Carolina Ochsendorf / dnetc
So far, so good, since these partnerships between companies are something common. The curious thing is that they happen in unusual and tragic situations, as in the earthquake that hit Mexico in 2017. In this case, the search showed a box with information and alerts about the disaster, such as the affected areas, official information and latest news, in addition to rescue teams' tips.
Searches related to sports are also highly relevant on the site. As a result, the company announced that it will expand the experience offered in football to other sports. In the case of Brazil, the company observed an interest of the users in fights and, therefore, guaranteed that it will launch a more complete search for this modality soon. In addition, Google also promised news on the tool for the World Cup.
Google Assistant and voice search
The large number of searches carried out by cell phone was one of the motivators of the voice search. The company bets on Google Assistant to assist the user in carrying out daily tasks, without having to type everything on the smartphone. Therefore, the personal assistant is directly associated with actions, such as calling, touching and doing. The tool is installed on more than 400 million devices worldwide and is responsible for between 5% and 10% of daily searches.
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As strange as this may seem, many people use Google search to get information about diseases. For example, when feeling pain, the person searches for that symptom to get an idea of what their problem is. As a result, the company has partnered with hospitals around the world to help validate these "diagnostics" online. Here in Brazil, the curation of this type of content is done in partnership with Hospital Albert Einstein, in So Paulo.
To display results so assertive and so personal, it seems obvious that Google knows a lot about our lives, right? Yes, the company admits to having a variety of user information, but ensures that no one has access to that data. All information that can be used to identify users as people is removed before the company's engineers have access to it.
Other curiosities of the search engine:
- The approximate time for Google to find a search response of 0.25 seconds.
- 50% of all searches take place via cell phone.
- 15% of daily searches are undisclosed.
- Google has already found 130 trillion addresses on the web.
* The journalist traveled to So Paulo at the invitation of Google.