Lapizuli - 10:18 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)
I don't know if this will help anyone or be seen as flaky or worse, obvious. And it's all Big Picture, not data.
But what's happening from our perspective is that Google is learning to be smart like a person.
If I ask you, "Where's the store?" while I'm standing outside a building, I could be asking about a retail establishment or a stash of goods or even a meeting of the Sober Teetotaler's of Rabid Entymologists, or something else.
You'd listen to me, then look around to try to figure out my meaning by the clues, plus your own instincts and smarts and empathic abilities.
Google is trying to become independently capable of discerning what I mean - in other words, to understand the connotation - without needing me to say, precisely and denotatively, what I want.
Google doesn't want better searchers - it wants to be as smart as a searcher, to be the electronic equivalent of "smart" - artificially intelligent, that is.
Every change they're implementing is moving them toward this, as far as I can see. Give 'em a few years, and Google will be the smartest human on the planet. Because while we can understand what a lot of people can say, most people can't understand what everyone on earth is saying. Google's well on their way to getting there.