Last Monday, Bloomberg Business published an interview with Google‘s senior research scientist, talking about RankBrain. “What is RankBrain”, some may ask. Below are quotations from the published interview about this machine learning-based signal that aids Google handle the millions of daily queries it receives each day.
Six Important Quotes from Bloomberg’s Interview with Greg Corrado About RankBrain
1. Search Query Interpreter with Artificial Intelligence
Quote 1: “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.”
2. RankBrain Works on “Never-Before-Seen” Queries
Quote 2: “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.”
3. It Handles 15% of Daily Queries Google’s
Quote 3: “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.”
4. This Ranking Signal Learns
Quote 4: “The other signals, they’re all based on discoveries and insights that people in information retrieval have had, but there’s no learning.”
5. Ranked 3rd Among Google’s Hundreds of Ranking Signals
Quote 5: “RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query.”
6. 10% More Accurate than Human Search Engineers
Quote 6: “Google search engineers, who spend their days crafting the algorithms that underpin the search software, were asked to eyeball some pages and guess which they thought Google’s search engine technology would rank on top. While the humans guessed correctly 70 percent of the time, RankBrain had an 80 percent success rate.”
Since its deployment several months ago, RankBrain has played a very important role in processing search queries that turning it off “would be as damaging to users as forgetting to serve half the pages on Wikipedia.” Bottom line, search is still about robots, but a more intelligent one this time.