Despite the vast amounts of revenue generated from the service, Google's search service has remained relatively staid for users, bar the odd funky logo. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, it will soon be getting up to speed, offering direct answers to questions and more relevance via semantic searching.
The New Seekers
Search has moved forward rather slowly, despite it being one of the primary uses of the Internet. Over the years, rival services like Bing and Ask have tried to bring more relevance to users' input, and now Google seems to be following that line, with a series of planned upgrades.
Over the next few months, it will start checking your queries against a database of entities, that is people, locations, places, proper nouns and so on, and provide results that will better match what you searched for. The technology has been built up over the last few years, along with semantic search features, and will likely start appearing gradually in results as Google tests the service with users.
By keeping people within Google's own pages for longer, they are that little more likely to click on an advert or get used to using the company's other services. While Google won't like the comparison, the search service does seem to be borrowing heavily from Microsoft's Bing -- which has offered semantic search for some years now.
This story start out in the Wall Street Journal, but the more focused minds at Search Engine Land points out that Google has been offering many of these advanced services for years and are perhaps refreshing them, or refocusing on them. So, don't go getting too excited yet, wait until Google makes a definitive statement before tweaking your site.
Assuming it is accurate, with Google's search box prominent on Apple's iOS devices, the Firefox browser and many other places, the ability to find answers quicker should be appreciated by users. Site developers on the other hand will be wondering if they have to take action to make their sites more relevant and visible under any changes to search.
Google isn't saying at the moment, but a rush to add new tags and identifiers may well be underway as soon as the company goes public with its search updates. Google might also tweak the look of the results page, and with mobile becoming ever more important look at new ways of presenting results to users.
While the novelty factor of Apple's Siri might have waned, the idea of asking general questions and getting specific answers back from your Android or other phone seems to have hit a chord and Google could link this to other services to provide a more chatty experience.