Google Turning Its Lucrative Web Search Over to AI Machines

When Google-parent Alphabet Inc. reported eye-popping earnings last week its executives couldn’t stop talking up the company’s investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.bloomberg.com

For the past few months, a “very large fraction” of the millions of queries a second that people type into the company’s search engine have been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system, nicknamed RankBrain, said Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist with the company, outlining for the first time the emerging role of AI in search.

RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.  Unique Questions:  The system helps Mountain View, California-based Google deal with the 15 percent of queries a day it gets which its systems have never seen before, he said. For example, it’s adept at dealing with ambiguous queries, like, “What’s the title of the consumer at the highest level of a food chain?” And RankBrain’s usage of AI means it works differently than the other technologies in the search engine. “The other signals, they’re all based on discoveries and insights that people in information retrieval have had, but there’s no learning,” Corrado said.  Keeping an edge in search is critical to Google, and making its systems smarter and better able to deal with ambiguous queries is one of the ways it can keep a grip on time-starved users, who are now mostly searching using their mobile devices. “If you say Google people think of search,” 

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