Google and Semantic Search: What’s in store for “the long road ahead”?
Google’s interview in The Wall Street Journal last week stirred up lots of discussion, and one of Italy’s main dailies called us up that afternoon to get our take on what Google’s overhaul of search will really mean.
First, it’s a question of content. The proclamation that Google is working on a next-generation search engine that incorporates semantic search is more of a shortcut than a solution. What Google is still missing, at least as far as we know, is the ability to extract all data and information from any web page (and not just the data taken from a reference database like FreeBase, a company acquired by Google who created a database of all the data/entities in Wikipedia). Implementing a semantic search engine requires additional steps. For example, semantic search should understand the multiple meanings a word can have (which depends largely on context), not to mention the need to adapt to different languages and cultures. In addition it should also be improved to address the “doubts” — testing the system with real and simulated questions to identify its weaknesses. This is only the beginning—real semantic search technology must address all of these areas.
And finally, it’s the how of the announcement, really, that is interesting. This is the first time I remember Google ‘announcing’ something in advance, rather than on the heels of something it’s already done. Maybe it’s just a change in PR strategy, or does it signal a bigger internal (and more corporate) shift away from its roots?
Author, Luca Scagliarini.