Churchill Club had organized an event recently, and first time they have brought together Key Google search teammates Matt Cutts, Ben Gomes, and Amit Singhal have worked together for over a decade. Event was hosted byDanny Sullivan who has been working with Search Engine land from last many years. This was an very important event for all someone who follows Google search, I saw the video on YouTube and it was awesome to see how what these guys think and how they have been working continuously in improving search results.
This is a must see video, for someone who is following the google search industry, Hope you will enjoy this video.
They started with how they move into Google, 10 years ago. Matt is the most senior in the team following Ben and then Amit. They have been working together from last 10 years now.
Amit was the main influential in the event, answering a lot of queries and talking about search Algorithms, where as Matt answered more spam, legal and privacy related queries.
Some Glimpse of the Event:
Working Philosophy: Google’s working philosophy is very simple Amit says, they only work for Google Users and believe in What Works better for user, should be promoted on Google. After all its searchers experience and ease in finding the most relevant results for their search queries that is driving Google.
Amit says, that Google is continuously, working in improving search result quality. In this regard Google continuously make changes in their present algorithms. Only a few make it through the entire process and result in an algorithm update. Based on the ballpark numbers mentioned (20,000 changes and 500 updates), less than 3% of the tests result in an algorithm change.
I like the ways Google Test their Algorithm changes. Amit says, that if they want to do any changes in the current search algorithm, then these changes go through a rigorous testing process. All changes they do are testing internally, where they compare the new results for a Query with the old results for same query, and then they show it to a naïve guy. Once its passes through basic testing process, they put it live only in 1 data center. Google observes the results for these search results and see the visitors’ response to the new search results. If they observe that users like their new search results then they make it live all throughout. All this process is done for very short interval of time. Its only user’s experience which drives which changes will go live, which I think is excellent way to test it.
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Relevance of Search Queries: One of the main topic subject to address was, relevance of queries. One men’s thrash is another men’s treasure. When Google is trying to improve their search algorithms, this can easily happen. Someone will lose their place and someone will come to fill that space. Google search address this issue head on. While they believe that their scientific method allows them to come closer to an objective relevance they know it won’t be perfect.
Accuracy: Google’s search algorithms are very perfect. Another issue which has been addressed in the event was How Google handles the issues such as bad or irrelevant results are coming in search results. They say, that Google search manually do not demote an irrelevant result or promote a relevant result in their search results. They even also do not remove an irrelevant result manually from their search result irrespective of its ranking. To resolve these kind of issues, they try to improve their Algorithms, because its because of their algorithms failure because of which irrelevant results have shown up in search results.
Speed: Google search is very proud of introducing Google Instant, which not only saving users’ time but also helping in reducing misspelling of search queries. Google instant helps in auto completion of a search queries, it also helps in Query formation for a user who can miss type it on Google. Sometime Google throws up most relevant pages before your write the complete search query, which is excellent and stats which Google has is showing excellent improvement in search results. Kudos to Google team for introducing Google instant.
Social Search: This is one topic which everyone wants’ to know especially after the inclusion of Google Plus, Google’s own social networking platform. Google Plus has created a lot of buzz, especially as it has been speculated that Google plus is going to effect on search results, and many companies have also started to sell Google plus for your content. Google says, that previously they were collecting data from real time engines like, Facebook pages, and Twitter results were shown in Google realtime. But what they have noticed in last 2 years, that these real time data feed was not enough. So they did not renew their contract with twitter.
However Google Realtime will be back as they are working in another similar application, which will take data feeds from Google Plus and from other real time data feed provider.
Another issue which they addressed is why they think Google Plus’s feed should be included in search results and this will improve search quality. According to Google inside team their Social platform works on the principle “Who Know who, and Who knows what”. E.g if you are looking for a plumber in your city and simply Google is, there will be many plumbers which will come up in search results claiming that they are best, and you can get confused which one should you call. But if one of your friend have know someone in this list and his experience is also good with the plumber, he can give one thumbs up to plumber. And because, he is your friend chances are that you will trust his recommendation, and thus showing up the guy who someone knows in your network in much better than showing a guy to whom no one knows.
Future: They also shared their vision for the future results. In five years Amit would like to see Google search behaving more like the ship’s computer on Star Trek. He’s keen on voice search and the growing impact of mobile devices. Matt’s vision was limited to the next few years where the use of geo-location, mobile devices and other contextual data could allow Google to prompt users.