Why Hummingbird is a Google Search Evolution and Not a Revolution

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In the past few years, Google has managed to become one of the leading technology companies in the world. It’s customer base has grown from strength to strength due to the company’s creative engineering and software development. The latest treat released by Google is the Hummingbird Algorithm which has already change the face of search engine optimisation. This new algorithm allows users to ask questions in the Google’s search engine that will receive accurate answers. With this latest update, Google has shown that their programming has evolved from a basic understanding of computer language to effective artificial intelligence.


Focusing on semantics rather than keywords

One of the main reasons why Google’s Search engine has evolved over the years is because the programming focuses on each word that is typed. What this means is that the algorithm understands each word that the user inputs into the search engine and links each word together to form a better result. The amazing part about this is that it manages to do all of that in a matter of milliseconds. The technique that Google incorporates is known as form-based queries which uses natural language as an overlay. Basic questions such as ‘What is’ and ‘Who is’ refers to places/things and people respectively. The answers already exist in Google’s Knowledge Graph which has a database of validated, verified and curated answers. This means that Google already trusts the answer as an information source.


About the process

To understand what Google has done to make the results more accurate to the query, we must first understand how the process actually works. The algorithm takes the query which the user inputs and leverages the grammatical structure to make it more simplified. Once the user intent is leveraged, Google can determine which form is best to map it to. The most critical aspect about this process is that it  must leverage the context and other implicit factors in order to better understand the query. If not, there would be incorrect disambiguation and irrelevant synonym expansion throughout.


Evolving old forms 

One of the biggest reasons why Google has managed to reach the top of technology charts is because it is the master of managing large amounts of data. This data not only includes information, but also other technology that has been obsolete for a while. Google makes sure that it takes this older technology and makes it work on a larger scale. This means that it can add new forms in the programming based on a combination of the volume of search results and lowest-hanging fruit, which is the possible question space that it can cover and the computational costs. Therefore, as Google keeps growing day by day, the algorithm continues to add the different types of questions to its database which means that it can answer far more questions that it used to. This is why Hummingbird is a more of a search engine evolution rather than an revolution.

 Featured image credit: Dennis Donohue /

Dave Ken

Dave Ken
Digital Marketing Strategist in IBOXSEO. Who have worked with firms in the UK, Ireland, and HK on growing their online presence via lean strategy. Hugely passionate about the evolving nature of SEO, He is always interested in the latest shifts and patterns, particularly related to content marketing.
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