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Google turns 15, launches new ‘hummingbird’ search algorithm

New Google logo

Yup, Google is 15. You probably can’t imagine life without it, but if Google were a human being, it would only be in high school by now. Unlike most teenagers however, the changes it goes through affect billions of people around the globe.

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The latest of those changes have been revealed by the internet giant and include rolling out the card-based UI that has defined Knowledge Graph, which also gets a couple of tweaks.

Perhaps the biggest unveiling though is the fact that your Google searches have been working through a new algorithm over the past month. Called Hummingbird, the new algorithm is designed to provide better answers to the more complex questions we’re asking of search engines and is already handling around 90% of searches on Google. Evidently the changes haven’t upset the SEO community, otherwise we would’ve had a massive uproar over the past few weeks.

The Knowledge Graph tweaks meanwhile mean that you should theoretically be able to drill down on answers more easily.

As Google’s official Google+ account explains:

When you’re looking up your favorite band, you’re probably looking for other information about them, such as their songs, albums or music videos. Today’s changes make it easier for you to see this type of connected information when you search for music, movies, books, paintings and more. So now if you search for [the National songs], you’ll see a list of their songs. Simply click on one song, like “Sea of Love” and you’ll cue up the video for the song with results. If you want to switch to another title, you can easily click amongst them. If you’re interested in a movie—whether it’s a classic like “The Searchers” or something more contemporary — you’ll now see more information about the cast and related movies, directly in the Knowledge Graph.

Another useful tweak to Knowledge Graph means that you can now do comparison searches, between dog breeds or kinds of car for instance.

In the next couple of weeks, you’ll also be able to download a new version of the Google Search app on iPhone and iPad. With this update, says Amit Singhal, SVP of Google Search, you can get notifications across your devices.

What that should mean is that if you tell your Nexus 7 to remind you to buy butter at the grocery store when you walk into the store with your iPhone, you’ll get a reminder.

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