Google Explains How its Search Function Actually Works!

Google has undoubtedly made our lives easier. It’s hard to imagine where we would be today if Google wasn’t there to help us. People use its search engine to get help about everyday tasks, both essential as well as inessential ones. However, a question that has been on countless users’ minds for years now is how does Google Search work?

This question is asked either by people fascinated by Google’s efficiency or those that are concerned about its smartness and whether their personal data is a factor in the algorithm. The Tech giant has, at multiple occasions, attempted to become more transparent and publicize its operations.

Recently, a video was published on Google's YouTube channel. This video explains the working of Google Search in less than 5 minutes. The best thing about this video is that it discusses the relevant concepts without detailing them in such a fashion that would alienate many. Let’s shed some light on the video’s content.

The video opens with an emphasis on Google’s importance in the current age. Then, the narrator moves on to the actual topic and discusses how people would rather know about Google Search’s working without reading comprehensive books.

It is then explained that since its creation, Google has been mapping the web and that consists of countless pages, in order to create an index. For the people that are not into technology, it is basically like a library full of books on various topics.

Whenever a search action is performed on Google, countless results are displayed. Some of these results are relevant to the user’s query, while others aren’t. Scrolling through thousands of links to find the one article that is actually needed might be more hectic than it sounds.

To save users the hassle, Google’s ranking algorithms do their thing. At first, they try to analyze the meaning behind a particular search. This approach proves to be helpful when a particular user makes a spelling mistake or isn’t clear about what they are looking for exactly. After this, these algorithms traverse countless matches in the index and present the most suitable results on the first page.

There are various factors behind determining the rankings of results. For example, presence and location of the searched words/phrases in a particular page/article affect the ranking. Other than that, linking is an important factor. Back when it was created, Google looked at how pages linked to each other to know more about them.

Location should also be given precedence. A search term might mean something completely different in one part of the world against the others. Date and Time are also significant factors. A page published recently has a good chance of being equipped with more (and accurate) details as compared to one published before it, particularly in cases of an ongoing story.

Spam sites shouldn’t be counted out from this discussion. Such sites might contain the words relevant to a search query and thus, have the potential to end up on a higher position on the first page. According to Google, it constantly works on training its algorithms to detect these spam sites and remove them from search results so only the relevant pages can make the cut.

Lastly, the narrator discusses about making changes to search and its importance. The web is constantly changing and people often look up new things that have never been searched before. Actually, one in every seven searches is about something that has never been typed before into the search box. Therefore, keeping the search updated is required.

Whether a particular change to search is helpful or not is determined by search quality raters. They compare the samples of search results and give their feedback. The raters have to follow Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. These guidelines are publicly available (they are also linked at the end of the video). It should be clarified that raters’ feedback helps in the evaluation of changes and that it does not directly impact the ranking of search results.

Hence, through the discussed approach, Google finds the best matches to a search query and presents them in a visually appeasing way, and that too in under a second.

Video: How Google Search Works (in 5 minutes)

Read next: Google search engine now better comprehends conversational queries, not just keywords
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