Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become buzz words as of late. Google has been one of the biggest advocates of AI and machine learning in recent years. Google, or Alphabet as they are now called, has invested heavily in machine learning technologies for videos, speech, translation and, recently, search.
According to MOZ, a known authority on Google search algorithm updates, over the past couple months “a very large fraction” of our search queries into Google have been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system they call RankBrain.
RankBrain uses machine learning and AI to decipher uncommon search results. If the algorithm sees a word or phrase in a query it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries. Google’s goal has always been to provide the best possible experience to users and making its systems better able to deal with ambiguous queries is yet another way it can help users save time.
RankBrain is one of the many signals that are drawn from to decide what results appear on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and in what order they are listed. they are ranked. According to experts internally, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query.
The addition of RankBrain to search is part of a long push by Google into AI. “Machine learning is a core transformative way by which we are rethinking everything we are doing,” Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was quoted as saying on the company’s earnings call last week.
Google’s decision to allow AI technology to handle a percentage of search illustrates how companies are giving more and more of their most valuable businesses systems over to machine learning. Facebook Inc. uses AI techniques to filter the newsfeed that composes your personalized homepage and Microsoft Corp. is using artificial intelligence to aid and expand the capabilities of its Bing search product.
Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist with the company was cautiously optimistic: “Machine learning isn’t just a magic syrup that you pour onto a problem and it makes it better. It took a lot of thought and care in order to build something that we really thought was worth doing.”