From being able to answer simple queries, Google Voice Search can now understand the context of words a little bit better. “The Google app is starting to truly understand the meaning of what you’re asking. We can now break down a query to understand the semantics of each piece so we can get at the intent behind the entire question,” explains Google.
Google took its first steps with voice search in 2008, then incorporated it into its Knowledge Graph in 2012. Google explains that, from there, the voice search progressed to answering simple questions like “What did Leonardo da Vinci invent?” or “How old is Stan Lee?” Now, the app has gotten a little smarter.
For example, the app can now provide answers to questions that include superlatives. Ask it “Who are the tallest Maverick players?” and it will give you the roster of all the Maverick players ranked by their height. The answer to that question is Satnam Singh Bhamara, who is 7”2. So the Google Voice Search (which works with the normal Google search engine) can now rank some information based on superlatives such as “largest,” “tallest,” etc.
However, the feature is still being fine tuned so it’s far from perfect. To get a sense of how much work this feature still needs I ran an experiment. I searched for “who is the tallest footballer in the premier league” and it used the same old method of providing answers:
What the program did was to pull an answer from an article where the information had been mentioned before. If it was to run the new algorithm, I would have gotten a list ranking Premier League footballers according to their height. And this answer will be provided directly on the Google page, not a link to the website where the information was gotten from.
In comparison with its rivals Siri and Cortana, Google’s Voice Search still does a better job at understanding users and answering queries. Google says the app is still learning and will make mistakes.