Google on Thursday launched an update to its search algorithms to better understand when the query requires timely and relevant information, even if the words don’t include a date or time.
The algorithm update improves Google’s understanding of what information remains useful over time and what becomes out-of-date more quickly.
“When you search for something like ‘income brackets,’ it’s likely that you’re looking for this year’s tax information, not last year’s,” Pandu Nayak, Google vice president, search, wrote in a blog post, providing an example.
The technology must understand language. These types of queries do not include a date or time, so Google needs to consider other data. On the other hand, he wrote, useful information doesn’t necessarily come with the most recent web results.
For queries such as “Why is the sky blue?” the underlying explanation or answer doesn’t change in time.
This type of algorithm update is particularly helpful for featured snippets, a feature in Search that highlights pages our systems determine are most likely to have the information you’re looking for,” explains Nayak.
“Other information gets more accurate over time,” Nayak wrote. “As an event approaches, we learn more specific details. A fresher page about an upcoming TV premiere might have more specific information and other useful content, like trailers, that you can click through to view.”
As web content changes, and Google admits it sometimes does at rapid speed, depending on the topic, the results will change. This algorithm helps the data stay current and up-to-date.