Google has made changes to its mobile app for the never-ending question, making the app able to answer (almost) any question. You’ve been able to inquire about a number of things through Google for quite some time. However, the more complicated questions have not always been answered by Google’s services. That is about to change.
Question structure is important
Human thought is often a “stream of consciousness.” If one is asking a question, they often think of information in whatever order it comes to them. As humans, we have been taught that the context, and not necessarily the order of the question, is what is important. However, for computers (and Google’s mobile app), this is not the case.
“Language feels so natural to us that we can often take it for granted – we forget the years it takes us to master it as children. It’s much, much harder for computers,” product manager Satyajeet Salgar said in a blog post about the update.
The technology giant has been working to better its app to help serve the human mind and better understand complex questions. It seems the company has made a significant breakthrough. The app will now be able to understand more complicated questions through some changes makers have made to the algorithms.
Changes to the app
In a blog post on Monday, Google product manager Salgar explained some of the changes and improvements that will help Google’s mobile app users. The updated app will better understand complex questions and help make sense of the strange human thought processes.
The app has always been successful in answering questions like, “What are the largest cities in Texas?” You may even be able to ask about a specific point in time like, “What were the largest cities in Texas in 1960?” However, Google is now able to answer questions like, “Who was the U.S. president when the Angels won the World Series?” The answer: George W. Bush.
Updates to the app build on the previous changes in 2008 to Google voice search and its Knowledge Graph released in 2012. The Google team aims to make the search engine the best it can possibly be by making it align with the human mind.
“Just as a child first talks about single items like ‘mama’ or ‘car,’ the Knowledge Graph started by providing information on individual entities like ‘Barack Obama’ or ‘Shah Rukh Khan,” Salgar wrote on the blog post. “We graduated to answering simple questions about those entities, so you could ask ‘How old is Stan Lee?’ or ‘What did Leonardo da Vinci invent?.’”
Eventually, the app got even smarter, “And we soon got a little smarter, so if you asked ‘What are the ingredients for a screwdriver?’, we understood you meant the cocktail and not the tool,” explained Salgar. “Now we’re ‘growing up’ just a little more.”
Obviously, the updates made to the app are not yet perfect. If you ask a question like, “Who was Dakota Johnson’s mom in the new movie?,” it will likely give you the name of the character and not the actress. These problems in the new app will be used to make Google’s mobile app even smarter in the future.