Graph Search: Was It a Nightmare at all for Google?
Just a day after Facebook’s announcement of the Graph Search on January 15, 2013, The Huff Post Tech published an article of Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition. The author very explicitly interpreted the then ‘new’ graph search as a nightmarish experience for Google:
“Facebook’s launch of its Graph Search tool, in combination with its announced alliance with Microsoft’s Bing search service, is Google’s nightmare come true. Facebook + Bing = a much enhanced version of Google.” – http://s.shr.lc/19mOZzF
The main purpose of Graph Search was to deliver users with a unique experience, while they place their queries in natural language, quite unlike the keyword specific search queries. Facebook aspired to give answers to such queries and not just links in response to users’ questions.
Let’s get back to an initiative that Google rolled out almost 8 months before launch of Graph Search that drew all the limelight. Apparently, this is something that Mr. Scheer missed out, while writing his article. On May 16, 2012, Google launched the Knowledge Graph that apart from delivering the general search results also aimed at providing comprehensive answers to users’ search queries, not just links. Perhaps, the only drawback that Google’s product had, at the initial stage, was lack of flexibility in addressing queries put forward in natural language.
Since the inception of Knowledge Graph and Graph Search, simultaneously, Google and Facebook have come a long way. Facebook has continued to improve the Graph Search algorithm and currently has come to the situation that clearly explains capacity of the most popular social networking website in mastering the art of handling natural language query. On the other hand, one thing is pretty clear from Google’s initiative to launch Knowledge Graph that the search engine giant correctly figured out the increasing popularity of natural language (non-keyword specific) queries.
Introduction of an improved Knowledge Graph and simultaneous roll out of Hummingbird algorithm update in the final weeks of September 2013 shows readiness of the company, in dealing with changing search trends among users. With these updates, Google points out loud and clear that Graph Search (the collaborative effort from Facebook and Bing) was never a nightmare for Google. It seems that the company was waiting for the opportune moment to launch its latest weapons with perfection and preparedness, only to assert its position as the undisputed leader.
What is the Google Hummingbird?
Quite simply, Hummingbird is Google’s latest search-engine algorithm update. Since last couple of years, the SEO world and millions of users across the globe were getting familiar with the ‘Black & White Beasts’ – Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. Hummingbird is quite different from them. According to Google, this update is the biggest change that they have done since 2009. As per the company’s claim, the new update is the result of complete rewriting of what was in practice for over a decade. The importance of executing features of the Knowledge Graph perfectly was increasingly becoming important, especially in the context of breaching the limitations of keyword-specific search and improving the results with natural language queries. Success with these efforts was possible only with a platform that can complement these changes adequately. Hummingbird is that platform.
The popularity of natural language search started becoming increasingly popular with the advent of smartphones, tablets, iPhones etc. As the world goes mobile increasingly, neither Facebook nor Google was left with any other option except looking beyond the traditional keyword-centric search. People are now looking forward to direct, constructive and wholesome answers. Google, clearly, monitored these changing trends closely and carefully. At the same time, it continued to work on Knowledge Graph and Hummingbird, simultaneously – only to make sure that the outcome perfectly complements one another.
Today, the Knowledge Graph is a lot smarter than before, thanks to the features like Filters and Comparisons. For instance, you are looking forward to compare between The Leaning Tower of Pisa and The Eiffel Tower. All you have to do is to type the subjects of your comparison on the search bar with versus (vs) between them and the wholesome answer will be there, explaining all the differentiate factors. Perfection with search results becomes better than ever with the help of Hummingbird and Google assures users that people who are fond of mobile or voice search, would understand the actual benefits of Hummingbird.
With this update, Graph Search no longer remains the only option for users to find places or activities of their interest in the surrounding areas or at any corner of the globe. In fact, users, who don’t have a Facebook account, currently not logged into Facebook or haven’t yet received the opportunity of using Graph Search (keeping in mind that Graph Search hasn’t yet rolled out for mobile devices), will be able to enjoy the benefits of natural language search on Google.
A Nightmare that Never Existed!
Facebook’s mastery over natural language search definitely was a setback for Google, especially when it comes to its undisputed reputation as the most user-friendly search engine. However, the challenge never really took a nightmarish shape as the search giant was already engaged in the process of improving itself. With the inception of Hummingbird, the process of perfecting the journey to reclaim the hierarchy for Google has commenced at the sweetest note. However, this is not just a strategic battle between two web-Titans and their alliances; rather for millions of web users across the globe, this is an excellent opportunity to find out what information they truly desire and how conveniently they may obtain it. Results that will come forth will surely revolutionize the future of business, web marketing and SEO.
Clearly, the advent of natural language search, which became possible mainly due to active contribution of Facebook and Bing, was never really a nightmare for Google. In fact, it never existed. This change, since the very beginning, was meant to benefit internet users across the world and provide the online marketing and SEO field with a vision about unexplored dimensions of improvement.
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