The Cool Way to Search Text

posted Aug 9, 2020, 10:21 AM by Chris G   [ updated Aug 9, 2020, 10:21 AM ]

Google announced a significant upgrade to their search algorithm in late 2019. The technique is super cool, inspired by the human brain, redefining how we search for text, images, music, and more.

Here’s one example from Google’s post. Let’s say we’re wondering whether we can pick up medicine for a friend, who may be sick and cannot enter a pharmacy due to Covid19 restrictions. We Google it:


Before this upgrade, Google would show us information about prescriptions on the left. Old Google would see high overlap between our keywords “get, pharmacy, medicine” and the top blog post. Statistically, these keywords are the meaty, distinguishing topic of our inquiry. The rest of the words are quite common, such as “can, you,” and “for”. Articles that only include those wouldn’t do us much good. Google would seek keyword overlap, finding the most authoritative and relevant answer. This is how search has worked for decades, which we call syntactic search, based on the written syntax of human language.