Google+ and Perfecting Semantic Search - Alex Payne - MSLGROUP

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Google.com remains the world's top website, as it is still one of the most trusted and easiest ways to get information on any subject. Now with the addition of Google+, its social network, it has built the foundation needed to complete the next great challenge of the web—perfecting semantic search.

Currently search engines run entries through a complex algorithm of inbound links, keyword matching and tags. It's a giant equation that ranks possible matches and then asks users to make choices most suited to their queries. While this system generally returns the right answer, it's not perfect, such as when search results include spam sites or take you to an unhelpful thread on a random forum.

Semantic search, which relies on the science of meaning in language, seeks to give an accurate personalized answer to a user with each new search. And while Google and other companies have made great strides in semantic search through context mapping and personalized search histories, most searches still lack the necessary information to deliver an influential recommendation each and every time.

Google+ will solve this information gap in two ways:

1. Community Influence: The context of comments on links combined with the number of "+1s" a post receives will be recorded in order to demonstrate the overall relevance to a searcher. Additionally posts by the most influential people on the Google+ network will tell Google what is being considered relevant within different communities. Finally, your friends' recommendations on Google + can be shown in search, much like the Bing and Facebook partnership.

2. Personal Mapping: Since each user's Google+ profile will be linked to all Google properties, Google+ will be able to track all of your preferences including the links you share and like on Google+, the comments you leave on blogs hosted by Google's Blogger platform (soon to be Google Blogs) and eventually (probably) YouTube videos. As Google learns more about you, it will allow a much higher level of targeting for your searches and eventually the ads you see.

Overall, this acquired knowledge (if Google+ can reach a critical mass of dedicated users) could dramatically change the way we search. And as search changes to include the conversations taking place all around the web, agencies and brands will need to be even more aware of what their consumers really want.

Alex has invites for anyone who follows him on Twitter @alexmpayne. He can also be reached at alex (dot) payne (at) mslgroup.com. For a related post about all the Google+ buzz, click here.

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