Google Inc. (GOOG: Quote) is reportedly aiming for a major revamp of its search engine to maintain its competitive edge in search results.
The upcoming changes are expected to be one of the biggest in the Internet search giant's history, enabling it to better compete with traditional rivals like Microsoft Corp. (MSFT: Quote) and new entrants such as Apple Inc. (AAPL: Quote).
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Google does not plan to replace its currently keyword-search system, but is now aiming to provide more relevant search results to its users by implementing "semantic search" technology.
This refers to the process of understanding the actual meaning of words, instead of taking the users' queries like a bunch of keywords.
Following the makeover, Google will be giving more than just web links for search queries and will also present direct answers, and other factual information. The changes to search could also impact millions of websites that currently rely on Google's page-ranking results.
Google has reportedly collected information on 200 million of entities, such as people, places and things. For instance, Google will now provide the relevant information by itself, instead of relying on Wikipedia, to provide facts and figures. The company plans to deliver that information through Search.
In an interview to the Wall Street Journal, Google search executive Amit Singhal said that Google search will look more like "how humans understand the world."
Google expects the semantic-search effort will enable it to compete with Apple's voice-activated Siri assistant. Reports about Google's Android software team trying to developing a competitor to Siri have been doing the rounds recently.
Siri or Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface, is an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator which works as an application for Apple's iOS.
The application, unveiled on Apple's iPhone 4S, uses a natural language user interface to answer questions. The software finds the answers with search engines like Google and Wolfram Alpha, which uses semantic technology.
The revamped version of search would also enable Google to maintain its lead over Microsoft's web search engine Bing and compete with Facebook in the event the social networking site unveils its own search engine.
Bing's search is based on semantic technology from Powerset that was acquired by Microsoft in 2008.
In May last year, Microsoft said it has added new social features to Bing, which would henceforth show data from Facebook Inc., such as news, links and places friends have recommended on the social networking site. The new added feature gives online searchers something new that they will not be able to find in Google's search engine.
Last week, ComScore Inc. (SCOR) released its monthly comScore qSearch analysis of the U.S. search marketplace. Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in February with 66.4 percent of search queries conducted, followed by Microsoft Sites with 15.3 percent and Yahoo! Sites with 13.8 percent.
In Thursday's regular session, GOOG is trading at $619.63, up $3.64 or 0.59 percent on a volume of 500,703 shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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