Posted January 20, 2010 9:38 am by with 4 comments

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My mind went numb, digesting Google’s lengthy explanation on how it’s improved its understanding of synonyms.

I’ll spare you the minutes–and brain cells–with my summary of the announcement:

Google knows when two words are semantically connected–such as "pictures" and "photos." It now plans to bold those synonyms in its search results, if it believes it’s pertinent to the search you just conducted.

If Google’s explanation of its code is anything like its actual code, it must be very bloated! 😉

Kidding aside, it’s actually a pretty smart piece of technology. Take "gm" for example. Google knows that, depending on the accompanying search queries, gm can mean different things. This screenshot explains it best:

Unfortunately, despite my witty post title, a search for "starchy tuberous crop" did not reveal any results for potato. 🙁

  • Michael Heavener

    Of course, they couldn’t do this without intensively studying all those centuries of saved search data they’ve been collecting about our search behavior. Collecting, saving, analyzing, applying/using–aren’t those synonymous with invasion of privacy?

  • You are now ranking on the first page of Google for “starchy tuberous crop” but I am wondering why you didn’t provide a screen shot of what you got for it when you searched originally. I only ask because “Potato – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia” is the 4th result I see now and the 3 above it all relate to your post. Wouldn’t that have been the very first result seen BEFORE you made this post??? Or is Google just that fast at making the connection between the two now that you posted about it? hmmmm

    Bloggers are now off and running… Who will be the first to get ranked for “starchy tuberous root vegetable?”

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