Frankly, it was always possible to ask Google anything, but for slightly more complicated questions, the answers were a bit…wanting.
Now, Google has updated its mobile app to better understand complex queries. In a blog postMonday, Google product manager Satyajeet Salgar explains some of the improvements that help the app make sense of your weird, human thought processes.
First, Google better understands superlatives and ordered items; for example, it understands queries such as “What are the largest cities in Texas?” Also, you can ask it about a particular point in time — so you can ask that same query about the largest cities in Texas, but in 1953, for example. Perhaps most importantly, Google is better at understanding complex combinations of these queries, such as “Who was the U.S. president when the Angels won the World Series?”
In the image below, you can see how Google handles a similar query, breaking it down into pieces and then reaching into its Knowledge Graph to fetch the correct answer.
Google readily explains that the system is not perfect yet, even giving an example of a query that will not yield a correct answer (Who was Dakota Johnson’s mom in the movie? — that query will net you the name of the real-life person, not the actress). However, the company claims these changes are a foundation that will make its search algorithms even smarter in the future.