The search wars are no longer just a one-man battle, and whether you want to credit Microsoft's Bing or not, there's been a definite push as of late in tweaking the underlying mechanics so that surfers spend less time punching in terms and more time sifting through exactly the information they're looking for. It's the reason why Microsoft insists on calling Bing a 'decision engine,' and it's the driving force behind some of Google's changes.
So what exactly is Google doing towards that end? Right now, the company's focused on synonyms, at least on a micro scale. On the macro level, the bigger goal is to up the ante in artificial intelligence so that its search engine -- and computers in general -- better understand human language.
"Google must understand that even if a page says 'photos' and not 'pictures,' it's still relevant to the search," the search giant wrote in a blog post. "While even a small child can identify synonyms like pictures/photos, getting a computer program to understand synonyms is enormously difficult, and we're very proud of the system we've developed at Google."
Google said that its synonyms system is the result of over five years of research, and that more recently a special effort has been made to analyze synonyms. By Google's estimation, synonyms affect some 70 percent of user searches.
See here for a more in depth explanation.
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