29/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 16:04

Google ramps up speed of search

Category: Technology

Published: 15th Jun 2011 11:14:36

Google has made changes to its search engine as it strives to get consumers the information they want faster.

Its new Instant Pages system will shave between two to five seconds off the time it takes for a web page to load, the company said.

It is also planning to offer voice-activated and enhanced image searching.

Google, which processes one billion requests every day, said search remained its core focus.

The firm still dominates the market although Microsoft's Bing is slowly eating into its share.

Bing's US searches rose to 14 percent in May from 12 percent at the end of 2010. It also powers searching on Yahoo, which has 15.9 percent of the market while Google's share slipped to 66 percent from 67 percent, according to measurement firm comScore

Instant Pages works by pre-loading the page associated with the top search result in the background as a user decides what to click on.

Google relies on its relevance technology to confidently predict the number one result a user will pick.

That means when the top pre-rendered link is chosen, the web page opens instantaneously.

The search giant said it typically takes around five seconds for a web page to launch once someone clicks on it.

"We at Google will not be happy until we make the Web as easy to flip through as a magazine," Google fellow Amit Singhal said at the Inside Search event in San Francisco.

"We are obsessed with speed. We often say speed is still the killer app," he added.

During a demo at the event the Washington Post home page loaded immediately with Instant Pages, compared to 3.2 seconds without it.

Last year the Silicon Valley firm introduced Google Instant which gives users results to queries while queries are being typed into the search box.

"What we have observed is that every time we shave 15 milliseconds from the speed, users search more and more, said Mr Singhal.

Over the next couple of weeks Instant Pages will be made available to users of Google's Chrome web browser.

The company said it would open access to the software code so other browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer could also incorporate the feature.

"Making it ubiquitous will make people go wow, Google just made the web faster," said Matt Rosoff, west coast editor of Business Insider.

"As far as Google is concerned it is another thing that will continue to draw people to Google and make sure they don't leave for another competitor like Microsoft."

On mobile, Google is offering an alternative to the traditional keyword search with icons linked to common searches such as restaurants, coffee shops and bars.

It said that the move was prompted by a rise in searches involving nearby places.

The company is also preparing to introduce voice-activated search for personal computers. The feature already exists on mobile devices.

The tool, represented by a small microphone icon in the far right of the Google search box, will appear over the coming days.

In a demonstration, reporters were shown that the search engine understands the difference between Worcester, Massachusetts, and Wooster College - words that sound the same but are spelt differently.

"Arguably speaking is the most natural way we learn to express our needs. It remains to be seen what kinds of usage scenarios may be important when it comes to the desktop. As the data comes in we will learn (that) over time," said Mike Cohen, manager of speech technology at Google.

According to Google, voice search traffic has grown six-fold over the past year, and every day users speak about two years' worth of speech into the system.

The company also revealed during its presentation that as many as 230 billion words a day are entered into the language bank system, helping to improve the way it deals with accents, pronunciations and colloquialisms.

The speech recognition tool will only be available on Google's Chrome web browser for now but executives said they hope other software makers would eventually implement the technology.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Google ramps up speed of search [Online] (Updated 15th Jun 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/162283/Google-ramps-up-speed-of-search [Accessed 29th Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Sami Hyypia: Brighton manager confirms coaching staff

    Brighton & Hove Albion manager Sami Hyypia has confirmed his backroom team, with Nathan Jones moving to the post of assistant manager.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey director's home visited by police

    Police have been called to Fifty Shades Of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson and actor husband Aaron's home after a machine gun was spotted in the house.
  • South Yorkshire Police child abuse force failings 'laid bare'

    The police force at the centre of the Rotherham child abuse scandal has admitted its failings over a number of years have been laid bare.
  • Thieves damage ATM machine in Castlerock, County Londonderry

    Thieves have tried to steal a cash machine from a petrol station in County Londonderry.
  • Fuji Xerox printer 'comes to your desk' with documents

    Fuji Xerox has developed a new robotic printer that can move around a lounge or office to bring documents to the person who printed them.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com