In case you haven’t seen the news elsewhere, Google has rolled out a significant search algorithm upgrade called Hummingbird – the first major enhancement since 2010. You won’t notice a considerable change in the look and feel of searching, but it should make search results more relevant (hopefully). One driving factor is that people are speaking search queries using their phones (see SIRI) and this upgrade should make those types of search results more relevant.  Remember Natural Language Query?

Although plenty of people still do advanced searching, as mobile continues its ascent and with the dearth of physical QWERTY keyboards (wah!), conversational search (aka Natural Language Query) will have even more impact on search engines and other search products. Microsoft has a whole project devoted to Spoken Language Understanding (SLU). 

The Hummingbird update focuses more on Google’s Knowledge Graph – an encyclopaedia of about 570m concepts and relationships that allows Google to anticipate facts and figures you might want to know about your search term.

More at:
Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/27/google-biggest-algorithm-change-hummingbird

Forbes:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2013/09/26/google-just-revamped-search-to-handle-your-long-questions/

MIT Technology Review:
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/519681/google-tweaks-search-to-challenge-apples-siri/