Amit Singhal is the man who is responsible for Google web search. All the searches done on Google are technically under his watch. So when an interview was posted named The human search engine, where Mark Prigg from the London Evening Standard interviewed Amit Singhal, I got excited.
The interview shares some insights into Amit’s role at Google, how Google tests new algorithms, and what the future for Google search is. I though it would be fun to categorize the quotes into those three groups and simply quote the story:
Amit At Google:
I came in and said ‘I’m a search academic, why don’t you let me practise that?’ I didn’t really read the Google code, and wrote a parallel version, telling them, ‘This is how I would do it.
My original algorithm has become a foundation on which we have an even more beautiful building.
Google Tests Algorithms:
We have the entire web in a sandbox that only our engineers can see, and our engineers can take their new algorithm and see it change millions of queries. If it works, we send it to testers, whom we pay, but we don’t tell them what they are testing.
Then we take a tiny slice, one per cent of our users, and expose them to this change. We measure things such as where on the page they click, when they click higher – that’s good for us.
Concurrently we have approximately 100 ideas floating around that people are testing – we test thousands in a year. Last year we ran around 20,000 experiments. Clearly they don’t all make it out there but we run the process very scientifically.
We look at that with a group of senior people who come together every week, and we decide if it’s good for users, the web ecosystem and for our systems.
Future Of Google Search:
That team is doing such amazing science, and bringing me closer to my childhood dream – how does it get any better?
But still the ultimate aim for Singhal is to build the Star Trek communicator of his childhood. “The key to this is when you can have a Star Trek Googlephone, where you can say, ‘Google, tell me how Alfred Nobel made his money’.
You can seek any knowledge on demand. How much more productive would humanity be if we can achieve this? “Today I feel more excited about my dream, it is almost within grasp,” says Singhal.
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