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6/12/2008
06:01 PM
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Google Freshens Related Search Suggestions

The company claims to have significantly improved its algorithms to generate related search suggestions using more timely information.

Google searchers can now see fresher related search queries on their search results page.

Google on Thursday said it had significantly improved its algorithms to generate related search suggestions using more timely information.

"Recently, we improved our algorithms to process new information faster, and the result is quite tangible -- you should now see fresher suggestions for queries on current topics of interest," said Rajat Mukherjee, a Google product manager, and Adam Westall, a Google software engineer, in a blog post. "Because information on the Web is constantly changing, we think this improvement will help you find relevant information faster."

Mukherjee and Westall explain that Google generates related search queries from a variety of sources and that not every search generates a related query.

As an example, the pair suggests the search term "tomatoes," which currently returns a related search queries "salmonella tomatoes" and "fda tomatoes." This is a result of recent reports about a salmonella outbreak and the resulting concern of people conducting Internet searches on the subject.

Google does not explain how its algorithm works, so it's not clear what level of interest in a given topic is necessary to generate a related search query suggestion.

Features like this are one reason that Google has resisted calls to track less data about user searches and interactions with Google.com. The data Google gathers can be used to offer new services or improve existing ones. Currently this feature is only available in the United States for English queries and doesn't work if strict SafeSearch filtering is enabled.

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