Google plans major revamp for search engine

The Web giant has been working on the "next generation of search" over the last couple of years and now it's ready to start rolling it out.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Google is about to embark on its biggest renovation in history. In order to keep up with increased competition and new technology, the Web giant is working to keep ahead of the pack by completely revamping its search function, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Google search executive Amit Singhal told The Wall Street Journal that the new Google search will look more like "how humans understand the world."

Changes are expected to roll out over the next few months, the Journal reports, but the full makeover to "next generation of search" will likely take years. A Google spokesperson told CNET that there is not a specific timeline and the company's philosophy is to launch things when they're ready.

The plan for the revamp isn't necessarily to swap out the current keyword-search system but rather to provide more relevant results. This process will work by using technology called "semantic search." With semantic searches, people's searches will be better matched with "entities"--or people, places and things--which the company has been building over the past two years, reports the Journal.

For example, the Journal reports that people who search for "Lake Tahoe" today get links to the lake's visitor bureau website and a map; whereas with the makeover, they will see key "attributes" about the lake, including location, altitude, average temperature and salt content.

Google is basically building an infrastructure layer or a knowledge graph that would underlie many aspects of Google, a spokesperson told CNET. The idea is to make more possibilities with search using these entities.

According to the Journal, this renovation most likely comes with changes to how the search engine actually works, including search engine optimization, advertising, and page-ranking results. Some 10 percent to 20 percent of all search queries could be directly impacted by the change, the Journal reports.

Over the past few months, Google has been making various changes to search, such as showing search results before a person finishes typing their query, adding Google+ to searches, adding concert dates to music queries, and saving searches across platforms with the new "recent" icon.