Hummingbird algorithm flies into Google

For the first time in three years, Google has released a major upgrade to its algorithm under the codename ‘Hummingbird’. Around 90% of Google searches have been affected by this upgrade, which has been in use for around a month already, and while Google have been a little cagey about the specifics, it is thought that Hummingbird improves the results given for long and complex searches.

Searchers are becoming more conversational in the way they interact with search engines, especially with the creation of programs such as Siri, where users are expected to ask a full question to the Apple bot for a simulated ‘conversation’. Hummingbird is essentially a way to enable more intelligent searching, as we might expect a search that once appeared as ‘accountant London’ to appear along the lines of ‘who is the best rated accountant in London’ or ‘are there good accountants in North East London’.

It’s the difference between a search like this:

Plain Google search

and a search like this:

Conversational Google search

The previous major upgrade, Caffeine, was to do with the way pages were indexed, which some could argue is a blunter approach to search than Hummingbird. The new update appears to be better at processing semantic links and relationships to understand searches in a more human way, taking into account the fact that we don’t always search the exact terms that will link us to the right sites.

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