Google gets semantic search suggestions, longer snippets

— 6:00 AM on March 25, 2009

You might not have noticed, but Google has updated its search engine with a couple of discreet but nevertheless interesting new features: semantic search suggestions and extended snippets. The former is the most notable. Here's how Google describes it in an official blog post:

Starting today, we're deploying a new technology that can better understand associations and concepts related to your search, and one of its first applications lets us offer you even more useful related searches (the terms found at the bottom, and sometimes at the top, of the search results page).

For example, if you search for [principles of physics], our algorithms understand that "angular momentum," "special relativity," "big bang" and "quantum mechanic" are related terms that could help you find what you need.

Next up are longer snippets, which should come in handy next time you get overly verbose with the search field. In situations where users enter more than three search keywords, Google says, search result descriptions (which highlight matched keywords in bold) are now longer in order to provide better context for the keywords. In practice, that should result in fewer instances where you have to click a match to see whether it actually contains what you're looking for.

According to Google, both features are available right now, and the semantic search suggestion functionality works in 37 different languages.

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