Fifteen years ago, the state of the art of full-text searching was word proximity based searching. You hand the search engine a few words and the documents with those words come back, usually sorted intelligently based upon the proximity of those words to each other, with weighting applied for adjacency. That was pretty spiffy stuff in 1999.
Today, Google search doesn’t see to be any smarter than it was 15 years ago.
Why can’t Google take a full question and understand the underlying meaning of the question and give a decent response?
The IBM Watson system impresses me. It understands questions on complex medical issues and intelligently responds.
The Wolfram Alpha system impresses me. It breaks down a question, extracts meaning, and then works towards presenting a calculated answer based on the underlying facts. Impressive.
But Google, fat and happy with profits, doesn’t seem able to innovate. Or understand. Or, care.
Google may be a sitting duck, waiting to be played by some company that can give more meaningful answers to my questions.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t already seen it, enjoy this very funny You Tube video of “If Google were a person.” It’s one of my favorite humor snippets: (Only 2 minutes.)
If that strikes you as funny then here is part 2:
Hey, lots of people thought it was funny. There is a part 3:
So, really, why can’t I ask Google and get documents that meaningfully answer my question. Surely they have been doing some research with their money. Right? No?