Context Clusters in Search Query Suggestions

unsplash-logoSaketh Garuda

Context Clusters and Query Suggestions at Google

A new patent application from Google tells us about how the search engine may use context to find query suggestions before a searcher has completed typing in a full query. Think of Google as a Decision Engine, focused upon bringing searchers more information about interests they may have. After seeing this patent, I’ve been thinking about previous patents I’ve seen from Google that have similarities.

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Quality Scores for Queries: Structured Data, Synthetic Queries and Augmentation Queries

Augmentation Queries

In general, the subject matter of this specification relates to identifying or generating augmentation queries, storing the augmentation queries, and identifying stored augmentation queries for use in augmenting user searches. An augmentation query can be a query that performs well in locating desirable documents identified in the search results. The performance of an augmentation query can be determined by user interactions. For example, if many users that enter the same query often select one or more of the search results relevant to the query, that query may be designated an augmentation query.

In addition to actual queries submitted by users, augmentation queries can also include synthetic queries that are machine generated. For example, an augmentation query can be identified by mining a corpus of documents and identifying search terms for which popular documents are relevant. These popular documents can, for example, include documents that are often selected when presented as search results. Yet another way of identifying an augmentation query is mining structured data, e.g., business telephone listings, and identifying queries that include terms of the structured data, e.g., business names.

These augmentation queries can be stored in an augmentation query data store. When a user submits a search query to a search engine, the terms of the submitted query can be evaluated and matched to terms of the stored augmentation queries to select one or more similar augmentation queries. The selected augmentation queries, in turn, can be used by the search engine to augment the search operation, thereby obtaining better search results. For example, search results obtained by a similar augmentation query can be presented to the user along with the search results obtained by the user query.

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Citations behind the Google Brain Word Vector Approach

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Google’s Word Vector Approach

In October of 2015, a new algorithm was announced by members of the Google Brain team, described in this post from Search Engine Land – Meet RankBrain: The Artificial Intelligence That’s Now Processing Google Search Results One of the Google Brain team members who gave Bloomberg News a long interview on Rankbrain, Gregory S. Corrado was a co-inventor on a patent that was granted this August along with other members of the Google Brain team.

In the SEM Post article, RankBrain: Everything We Know About Google’s AI Algorithm we are told that Rankbrain uses concepts from Geoffrey Hinton, involving Thought Vectors.

The summary in the description from the patent tells us about how a word vector approach might be used in such a system:

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How Google Might Make Better Synonym Substitutions Using Knowledge Base Categories

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Leigh Miller – Yankee Stadium, francis_leigh, Some rights reserved

How Google May Use Synonym Substitutions to Rewrite Queries

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a Google patent that involved rewriting queries, titled Investigating Google RankBrain and Query Term Substitutions. There’s likely a lot more to how Google’s RankBrain approach works, but I came across a patent that seems to be related to the patent I wrote about in that post and thought it was worth sharing and starting a discussion about. The patent I wrote about in that post was Using concepts as contexts for query term substitutions. The title for this new patent was very similar to that one (Synonym identification based on categorical contexts), and the more recent patent was granted on December 1st of this year.

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How Google May Transform Queries into Trigger Queries

Recently I wrote about Google’s Enriched Results Patent, where Google looked at query terms searched for, and for some of them the search engine returned special “enriched” search results that showed off things such as financial information when the query might have been something like a financial stock market term, such as “GooG” for Google.

A search result for Goog returns a financial listing for Google in search results.

At Search Engine Land in 2007, I wrote about Google’s OneBox patent, and much like Google looking for query terms that might return an enriched search result, under the onebox patent, Google might decide among a range of seven different types of search results, including things such as news results, images, videos, local results and others.

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Searching with Pronouns: What are they? Coreferences in Followup Queries

At Google’s 15th anniversary celebration last summer, shortly after Hummingbird was introduced, Tamar Yehoshua, Google VP of Search, showed us conversational search at Google by first demonstrating a query asking for “pictures of the Eiffel Tower”, and then following up with the query “How tall is It?”

Looking through the base of the Eiffel Tower.

In that second query, Google had to not only remember the Eiffel Tower was being asked about, but also to recognize the Eiffel Tower when it was being referred to as “it.” That is part of the new “conversational search” that Google is now engaging in, using something know by linguists as a “coreference.” I wanted to write about coreferences to clear up confusion that people might have had about them.

I was inspired to do that after reading an article from Eric Enge earlier today, where he wrote about Knowledge Graph Advances From Google

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