Google Launches Hummingbird as it Celebrates 15 Years

Bough Digital’s Blogs of the Week: Week Ending September 28th
June 12, 2019
Bough Digital Gain eBay Contract
June 12, 2019

Google Launches Hummingbird as it Celebrates 15 Years

Google has celebrated 15 years of its search engine by unveiling their latest algorithm update, named Hummingbird.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to quickly turn to your Google Webmaster Tools account and begin removing bad links or revisiting all of your SEO activities! Google did disclose that Hummingbird actually launched around a month ago, which goes some way to explaining the talk within the search community that there might have been weekend updates that hit around the end of August and at the beginning of September, when many webmasters reported big changes in their rankings and in some cases, alarming drops in traffic.

Hummingbird affects 90% of searches in Google. While that number is high, Google has said the algorithm upgrade is necessary as technology and search habits develop. Specifically, the feature of being able to speak to the search engine is likely to make a huge difference in mobile search, especially with the increasing market presence of search watches and the launch of Google Glass to consumer markets in the coming months. Hummingbird has been designed to deal with complex search queries, and is another step towards Google building intelligence to the point that they know what you’re looking for even before you search for it, although for now it is more of a focus on ensuring that the correct results are presented from a complex query. Google themselves called it an extension of last year’s introduction of the Google Knowledge Graph, while also announcing they had added features to this platform.

Unveiling Hummingbird, a Google executive asked the search engine using her smartphone for pictures of the Eiffel Tower, which were presented, before asking for its height, which was answered, and finally for pictures of the construction, which were then shown. A Google spokesperson said, “Hummingbird pays more attention to each word in the query, ensuring the whole query is taken into account – so if a resulting page is a bit less strong in general, but it’s the most relevant to your search terms, that’s the result you’ll get. If there are plenty of relevant matches to your search terms, Hummingbird does a better job picking the strongest page for you.”

Search Engine Land founder Danny Sullivan said Hummingbird was, “more of a coming out party, rather than making me think ‘wow’,” before adding, “If you’ve been watching this space, you’d have already seen how they’ve integrated it into the [predictive search app] Google Now and conversational search. To know that they’ve put this technology further into their index may have some big payoffs but we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”

Indeed, expect numerous blogs and articles about how Hummingbird will change search to appear in the near future, and for it to play a huge part when the time comes to present 2014’s search predictions.

Google also announced further voice features had been added to its mobile apps, with Amit Singhal, who hosted the Hummingbird event, writing on his blog, “Ideally, you wouldn’t need to pull out your phone or tap buttons to use Google. We’re not quite there yet, but you can already do a lot with just your voice.”