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Google to Introduce Semantic Searches

Most people can identify with those commercials where someone rattles off all the things that come up in response to certain search terms … and none of those things are relevant to the person’s search. Well, Google techs say they’ve come up with a solution to that problem.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google will offer semantic searches in the near future. The semantic search feature will complement the site’s existing keyword search feature that SEO experts know and love. Semantic searches are based on context rather than just the words that you type. Since this is a presidential election year, I’ll use an example given by Pandia.com. With a semantic search, the word “election” typed into the search bar would yield results like ballot, campaigning and vote, whether the word election appears on any of those results pages or not. Today, when you type “election” in the search bar, the results will have the word election somewhere on them.

WSJ speculates that Google is making this move to compete with Bing and Apple’s Siri voice-activated mobile search. Although there are already semantic search engines out there, such as SenseBotDeepDyve and Cognition, they pose little threat to a behemoth like Google primarily because they’re designed to serve particular niches. Hakia, which is currently in beta format, is an all-purpose search engine similar to Google. When tested with the word “election,” the results it yielded were only slightly different from those that came up when the same word was typed into Google’s search bar.

So, what does all this mean? We won’t know until Google actually implements its new semantic search feature, which is expected to happen in the coming months. Google expects semantic-enhanced search results to be richer and more relevant.

It should be interesting to see how Google’s new semantic search feature is received. If things go the way Google hopes, people will find Web searches less frustrating and, possibly, more interesting than they do now.

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