Today, 15 years after Google launched, the company's SVP of Search Amit Singhal let us know where the search giant is heading. Not surprisingly, the primary focus is the engine's ability to understand what you want, however you say it.
Knowledge graph—Google's new and improved sentient know-it-all answer engine—is growing up. For example, if you say, "Tell me about impressionist painters," it will present a layout you can scroll through, showing you different types of impressionism. Click into cubism, and it'll bring up some stuff about Picasso. It's essentially adding more layers.
You can also use it for comparisons. For example you can say, "Compare olive oil and coconut oil," and you'll get an easy-to-read layout comparing nutritional information. You can also compare planets, and really anything.
This is all being added to the Search app, which will be updated in Android and iOS. Push notifications will be new to iOS, which is something a lot of people have been clamoring for. This means you'll be able to set reminders "Remind me to get baby wipes when I go to Safeway," and it will. It's very convenient.
Google has again changed the way its engine works. Caffeine was the name of the last search algorithm. Over the past month or so it's been quietly succeeded by Hummingbird. Hummingbird is a very very deep revamp of how Google Search builds its index of web pages. It reads pages differently, and strives for a stronger contextual understanding of what is being said on the page. How it's relevant, what it means, and how it relates to other pages.
This kind of change was necessary. After all, if we are asking Google questions in the way we speak to other humans, the search engine needs to have a more human understanding of the information out there. Yeah, it's a little creepy, but—in theory—it should give a more accurate result even to ever-increasingly complex questions.
You can read more about the updates over Google's Search Blog.