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Google Search significantly improving ‘Did you mean’ spell correction, using passage ranking to find buried answers

Google kicked off Search On 2020 by talking about its latest artificial intelligence enhancements. The search engine is picking up three specific enhancements that will help “you find exactly what you’re looking for.”

Last year, Google introduced the BERT neural network-based technique to better understand natural Search queries. This language understanding system is “now used in almost every query in English” and expanding to others.

Noting that “one in 10 queries every day is misspelled,” a new deep neural network spelling algorithm will “significantly” improve Google’s ability to correct you via the “Did you mean” prompt. Rolling out at the end this month, it “can better model the weird edge cases in our mistakes.”

In fact, this single change makes a greater improvement to spelling than all of our improvements over the last five years.

Given a recent ranking “breakthrough,” Google is now able to index individual passages on a page. This will greatly improve Search’s ability to help with very specific queries whose answers are often “buried deep in a web page,” like on forums.

By better understanding the relevancy of specific passages, not just the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for. This technology will improve 7 percent of search queries across all languages as we roll it out globally.

Lastly, neural nets are now leveraged to understand subtopics. According to Google, this “helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad” and will begin rolling out by year’s end.

 As an example, if you search for “home exercise equipment,” we can now understand relevant subtopics, such as budget equipment, premium picks, or small space ideas, and show a wider range of content for you on the search results page.

Other announcements today include:

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: