Google Hummingbird is a search algorithm used by Google. To celebrate their 15th birthday, on September 27, 2013 Google launched  a new “Hummingbird” algorithm, claiming that Google search can be a more human way to interact with users and provide a more direct answer.
“Conversational search” is one of the biggest examples Google gave. People, when speaking searches, may find it more useful to have a conversation.
I thought Google did this conversational search stuff already!
It does (see Google’s Impressive “Conversational Search” Goes Live On Chrome), but it had only been doing it really within its Knowledge Graph answers. Hummingbird is designed to apply the meaning technology to billions of pages from across the web, in addition to Knowledge Graph facts, which may bring back better results.
How do you know all this stuff?
Google shared some of it at its press event today, and then I talked with two of Google’s top search execs, Amit Singhal and Ben Gomes, after the event for more details. I also hope to do a more formal look at the changes from those conversations in the near future. But for now, hopefully you’ve found this quick FAQ based on those conversations to be helpful.
By the way, another term for the “meaning” connections that Hummingbird does is “entity search,” and we have an entire panel on that at our SMX East search marketing show in New York City, next week. The Coming “Entity Search” Revolution session is part of an entire “Semantic Search” track that also gets into ways search engines are discovering meanings behind words. Learn more about the track and the entire show on the agenda page.