20 Questions With Google Search Guru Udi Manber

Udi Manber, Google's vice president of engineering, got served 20 questions by Popular Mechanics' Glenn Derene, ranging from digs about how social media and personalization affect search, to how the giant views potential upstarts and competitors.

Manber said that Google's focus on improving the relevance and speed of core search is what keeps it one step ahead of social, semantic and other non-core search innovators. "Last year we made over 450 improvements to the algorithm," Manber said.

And while Manber acknowledged that input from a searcher's closest friends might make a given search more accurate, it doesn't mean that social search needs to be a separate entity--"it folds naturally" into core search improvements.

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