For their 15th birthday, Google brings us “Hummingbird”

In celebration of the company’s 15th anniversary, Google introduced a new algorithm for their search engine. Amit Singhal, the Google Search Senior VP described it as “precise and fast”. Hence, the name “Hummingbird”.

According to Singhal, the update improves all queries and it can answer the long complex searches and questions better. The algorithm can ultimately comprehend the concepts within the words and the connection between the two. Hummingbird also shifts its focus to ranking sites better in terms of relevance. As opposed to Google’s old algorithm, Caffeine, which concentrates more on indexing and crawling sites.

Tamar Yehoshua, also a Google VP, showed in the launch how deep and great Hummingbird can do. Yehoshua asked Google to “give me pictures of the Eifel tower”, it appears. She then asked how tall the tower is, the height appeared. And when She asked for pictures, Google’s reply was “Here are some pictures”. (In the last two searches, she did not indicate what tower or what pictures she was looking for).

hummingbird patentIllustrated here to the left is the patent for Hummingbird.

In the press event, it was said that this “conversational” mode has been put in effect for over a month, but was only announced days ago. It now impacts 90% of the searches.

Danny Sullivan, a well-known SEO expert, went to the event and was constantly tweeting about what was happening.

Barry Schwartz, also a well-known SEO expert, wrote in his blog about the Google update. Schwartz called the algorithm change “Major”.

One blogger wrote that “SEO just became a whole lot easier”.

The event and Hummingbird was launched in Google’s roots, Menlo Park, California. Back when it wasn’t a multi-billion dollar company, when they were only seven of them working in a garage and had a whiteboard that said “Google Worldwide Headquarters”.