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"Any clue as to the possible role greater reliance on semantics is playing in your never ending quest for more relevant results?"
I'd say that's inevitable over time. The goal of a good search engine should be both to understand what a document is really about, and to understand (from a very short query) what a user really wants. And then match those things as well as possible. :) Better semantic understanding helps with both those prerequisites and makes the matching easier.
So a good example is stemming. Stemming is basically SEO-neutral, because spammers can create doorway pages with word variants almost as easily as they can to optimize for a single phrase (maybe it's a bit harder to fake realistic doorways now, come to think of it). But webmasters who never think about search engines don't bother to include word variants--they just write whatever natural text they would normally write. Stemming allows us to pull in more good documents that are near-matches. The example I like is [cert advisory]. We can give more weight to www.cert.org/advisories/ because the page has both "advisory" and "advisories" on the page, and "advisories" in the url. Standard stemming isn't necessarily a win for quality, so we took a while and found a way to do it better.
So yes, I think semantics and document/query understanding will be more important in the future. pavlin, I hope that partly answers the second of the two questions that you posted way up near the start of this thread. If not, please ask it again in case I didn't understand it correctly the first time. :)
are folks imagining things
If your on NT, 2000 or XP you could try a 'ipconfig /flushdns' from the command prompt. This should flush your DNS cache.
64 results refer to the 64.x.x.x datacenters details previously in these update threads that GoogleGuy said should rollout across the datacenters this weekend.
We have begun to see very different results appear though.
Not imagining (or even done any product sampling to confuse myself!) Used a differnt machine to the one where I saw results first. Even emptied cach and refreshed cache etc. Defintely seeing same results we get on 64 on www2 and www3, but not www or .co.uk
Google have also updated their home page:
"©2004 Google - Searching 4,285,199,774 web pages"
Could that be taken as a good sign? Or is it just coincidence that GoogleGuy said 64 results will be introduced and a few of us UK users are seeing them on www2 and www3?
"©2004 Google - Searching 4,285,199,774 web pages"
An interesting observation that the old "57 Varieties" has gone. 4.285 billion is extremely close to the 2^32 (4.295 billion) indexing limit that has previously been proposed for Google. I wonder if they were having indexing problems...
[edited by: SyntheticUpper at 12:36 pm (utc) on Feb. 17, 2004]
Traditionally we watched www2 and www3 as it could be taken as a sure sign that something was happening, but now things are much more fluid in the world of Google it seems. Even with all this talk of datacenters and geo-specific results, I still think that what goes on at www2 and www3 is a fairly accurate precursor to what will come on www.
<added>Kennyh - I'm now seeing fluctuation, but only for one site. I have a site which makemetop would call an authority site, it is now ranking slightly better. This authority sight has secondary indented results showing, whereas earlier they weren't.</added>
Customdy, if you say that results from 64 are now showing in the east coast of USA and we're seeing 64 results (or something super close to 64) in the UK, would that not indicate a rolling update has commenced at some point during the last 24 hours like GoogleGuy stated?
<added>Sorry about this - just got my first glimpse of the new results on Google.com from Northern Ireland. Kennyh, can you confirm from London?</added>
I just wondered if when results on www2/www3 stabilise do they move onto www.com first, then .co.uk, or both together? I suppose now things are move fluid there is no *usually* anymore eh?
It's the first update I've been through and as things for us go back from where we sit now on Google.co.uk (oblivion for many keywords) to pre-Florida or better with the results on 64.**** (and now www2/www3), I can't wait :)
And it's not purely a selfish comment on may part. Lots of my competitors are back too, which is fine by me. I have no problem with competition from other like minded businesses that deserve to be where they are - I just hate being pushed from #1 to #900+ by a bunch of over SEO'd shopping portals with no real content. So, the results on 64.**** seem a lot more relevant across the board for our sector.
Of course, naturally I'm pleased we're on top for a lot of the search terms - I can't deny it. But I'd have equally settled for just more relevant than post Florida/Austin. So, win for searchers and win for us :) Lets just hope they roll out soon eh?
[edited by: wine_guru at 1:00 pm (utc) on Feb. 17, 2004]