Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Google Blogs Update [Orkut / Google Search]

Auto-Magic Groups

Have you ever wanted to see updates only from your family members or colleagues? Or have you ever tried to share a photo with college friends and had to select each recipient manually? If you have a lot of friends it could mean selecting dozens of people, one at a time. What if you could easily group them and interact with all of them at once?

As managing a large list of friends and keeping it up-to-date can be very time-consuming and not much fun, we came up with a solution: Auto-Magic Groups, a new feature that, as the name suggests, "automagically" figures out any friend groups you may have and also suggests labels for those groups.

Clicking the "edit groups" link will pull up groups you previously created, as well new groups suggested by orkut. You can reject orkut-suggested groups, or further customize them (the way you do with groups you've created yourself) by naming them and deleting or adding people to existing groups. Also, orkut tries to identify communities most closely related to each group.

Helping computers understand language

An irony of computer science is that tasks humans struggle with can be performed easily by computer programs, but tasks humans can perform effortlessly remain difficult for computers. We can write a computer program to beat the very best human chess players, but we can't write a program to identify objects in a photo or understand a sentence with anywhere near the precision of even a child.

Enabling computers to understand language remains one of the hardest problems in artificial intelligence. The goal of a search engine is to return the best results for your search, and understanding language is crucial to returning the best results. A key part of this is our system for understanding synonyms.

What is a synonym? An obvious example is that "pictures" and "photos" mean the same thing in most circumstances. If you search for [pictures developed with coffee] to see how to develop photographs using coffee grinds as a developing agent, Google must understand that even if a page says "photos" and not "pictures," it's still relevant to the search. While even a small child can identify synonyms like pictures/photos, getting a computer program to understand synonyms is enormously difficult, and we're very proud of the system we've developed at Google.

Here are screenshots of those disambiguations of GM in action:

Recent Posts from other google blog's: