Google, the world leader in online search, is reportedly set to tweak its search algorithm to be more like Bing and Apple’s Siri, with vast, new databases of information that can answer complex questions.
When you think search, you think “Google.” For well over a decade, they have been the undisputed leader in online search, dominating the search market, and even managing to effectively monetize search through their Google AdSense program. Competing search engines like Yahoo and Bing have only managed to hold on, garnering a nominal percentage of search traffic and market share. In essence, just as Xerox became ubiquitous with photocopying, so too has Google become synonymous with search.
A new report, however, indicates that the nature of search is changing — thanks in large part to smartphones — Bing and Siri are actually on the cutting edge of these new search trends, and Google is now trying to be more like them.
The Mail is reporting that new changes are coming to Google Search that will make it more like Bing and Siri, focusing more on answering users’ questions: “Google has quietly amassed information on 200 million of ‘entities’ – people, places, products – and the new version of search will feed users information about the ‘entity’ they are searching for. Instead of relying on Wikipedia, for instance, to provide facts and figures, Google will provide this information itself.”
This is a dramatic change for how Google currently answers questions in search: typically, a question is answered by providing a page from a website — such as from Wikipedia, eHow, or Ask, and not by drawing from raw data. According to the Mail, “Bing is the second most-popular search engine in the U.S. – and built do deliver answers to questions.”
However, what the Mail article fails to recognize is that this new trend in search has been driven primarily by smartphone users — and that it is Siri that is truly leading the way in “semantic search,” as it is called.
The iPhone 5 News Blog has long argued that Siri is a search engine — a new kind of search engine that is particularly well-optimized for mobile users who often use their smartphone to get answers and information to specific questions. Our theory was further supported by a report we covered on February 13th that the semantic search engine Wolfram Alpha was providing search results to 25% of all Siri search queries, and that Apple and Wolfram Alpha are moving closer together in business partnership.
It would appear that Google is now recognizing that they are behind on this new form of query-based search style brought on by mobile computing, and are working aggressively to match Bing and Siri in being able to deliver semantic search results. There is even a Siri-like Google/Android patent that we covered In an article I wrote on February 22nd, entitled “Patent Reveals Android Rival To Siri, Google Worried Siri Will Dominate Search.”
For as much as Google is often seen as an impenetrable brand when it comes to search, it appears that Apple is well-positioned to outflank them in the long run with Siri. This, combined with the ever-increasing success of the iPhone, shows Apple to be on a continued trajectory of success, with the prospect of eventually expanding their empire in the search market.
By Michael Nace