Google Inc. is giving its tried-and-true Web-search formula a makeover as it tries to fix the shortcomings of today’s technology and maintain its dominant market share.
Over the next few months, Google’s search engine will begin spitting out more than a list of blue Web links. It will also present more facts and direct answers to queries at the top of the search-results page.
The changes to search are among the biggest in the company’s history and could affect millions of websites that rely on Google’s current page-ranking results. At the same time, they could give Google more ways to serve up advertisements.
Google isn’t replacing its current keyword-search system, which determines the importance of a website based on the words it contains, how often other sites link to it, and dozens of other measures. Rather, the company is aiming to provide more relevant results by incorporating technology called “semantic search,” which refers to the process of understanding the actual meaning of words.