Maybe you have noticed it already; today in the morning something new appeared at Google’s search engine interface: A bunch of corresponding search-suggestions based on your search query. Google spoke about this enhancement:
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).
I tried it. So, if you type in “time travel” you also get search proposals like “theory of relativity time travel” or “wormhole time travel”. Google annouced, that the service is available in various languages. The direct test with German is a little disillusioning: Searching for “zeit reise” (which is the same concept as above, in german) leads to alternative searches like “reisen 50er jahren” (travel 50ies) and “reisen im mittelalter” (travel in the medieval).
Even if this semantic-like extension of the basis search function still needs some tuning, the point is getting clearer: Also Google is doing developments to get more meaningful results into their search algorithms. And parts of the semantic methodology are finding their way into mainstream services like search engines – as we have seen with Wolfram Alpha some days ago. So keep your eyes open – maybe next morning you’ll find another piece of the semantic puzzle embedded into one of your favorite web-apps.