back to article Google reveals its Hummingbird: Fly, my little algorithm - FLY!

As more people have come online, the way people search has changed - so Google has overhauled its algorithms to better deal with the vague, rambling questions we bombard it with. The new "Hummingbird" update was announced by Google at a shock-and-awe PR event held in the Menlo Park garage where the ad-slinger spent its early …


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  1. M Gale

    site:theregister 2009 + IPv6

    Might have something to do with Google getting rid of the "+" operator?

    And all for a "social network" that only has such a high user count because they're trying every dirty trick in the book to pretend that all of its youtube, gmail and other users even want the damned thing.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Making Search Results More Relevant

    When I search for something on many shopping sites, I get results "sorted by relevance." What's going on here? I search for "toaster" and I get toasters sorted relevance? Or does it really mean, "sorted by how much we want you to buy each thing?"

    Oh wait... probably nothing to do with Google. No, wait again! These days, everything is something to do with Google!

  3. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Is it Christmas already ?

    "If old Google was like C, Hummingbird is like Python or Ruby."

    If the old Google was like ______, Hummingbird is like ______ or _______.

    A B C

    1. A => mosquito bite, b=>an ebola burrito, c=>a thermonuclear kitten

    2. .... oh please somebody stop me before I do this all night ...

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Is it Christmas already ?

      If old Google was like C, Hummingbird is like Python or Ruby.

      New one is more like COBOL (or SQL), IMO.

      SHOW ME the page THAT HAS some tat or other WHERE YEAR = 2009 FROM the register

  4. Gordon 11

    ...Hummingbird is like Python...

    Oh god, no! You mean we'll have to indent things to make it look just how Google thinks it should!

  5. VeganVegan

    C the ruby-hroated hummingbird get eaten by the python

    C title

  6. dan1980


    Whenever any web-type thing talks about 'relevance' all I hear is: "la la la la advertising la la la la".

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: "Relevant"


      The original map-reduce was delivering relevant results. Ever since "dumb ass" was replaced with "smart ass" (actual internal google code names) the search results have gone down the drain. It is spewing back roughly at the quality of Altavista during the worst of its days at the moment.

  7. danR2

    Question, google.

    Google, why can't you find me all pages explaining why a search query with all of a small number of keywords and phrases won't give me exactly what I want and only what I want and not force me to put every cotton pickin' keyword in quotes?

    Is that more complex enough for ya?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    C? Python? Oh god no

    "If old Google was like C, Hummingbird is like Python or Ruby."


    import sanctimoniousness

    import nomoreprivacy

    import linkspam

    import clickbait

    import morenoise

    import lessvalue

    import google


    #include <researchskills.h>

    Come back C, all is forgiven.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: C? Python? Oh god no

      Apart from putting yourself in the hands of the semi-colon Mafia, you forgot

      #include <notascleverasithinkiam.h>

      #include <hugeloadofboilerplate..h>

      void ThisIsGoingToBlowUpBecauseOfPointersAndPoorMemoryManagement();

  9. rcorrect

    So I did a search for The Register sucks and nope, that isn't what I was looking for. Try again Google.

  10. Fred M

    Top Googling top

    Here's my top tip for getting the most out of Google's search algorithms:

    1. Use Bing for a whole day

    2. Go back to Google

    3. Realise you have very little to complain about

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Top Googling top

      Slight typo -- 1. 'Try to' Use Bing for a whole day

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Top Googling top

        Not a typo, surely. Be forced, or force yourself, to use Bing for a *whole* *day* with absolutely no access to any other search tool. Then you will indeed realize that you have very little to complain about with Google.

    2. ckm5

      Re: Top Googling top

      The results are different, that's for sure, but it's not as bad as you make it out to be. One cool thing is that Bing has an API for search results, so you can use it in other ways.

      Also, video & photo search on Bing is better - well, at least the UI is better. And the fullscreen homepage image was awesome, I was bummed when they decided to resize it and add more crap. Typical MSFT.

      And if you use Yahoo, it's basically Bing without the stupid name.

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: Top Googling top

        And Yahoo! isnt a stupid name? I mean at least Bing's named after someone. Not really attacking or defending either, but dumb names are kind of par for the course in computing.

        Let us not forget all of KDE's stupid names that started with K. Or dumb names for different distro versions (Fedora's last three names have really irritated me, as do all of Ubuntu's names. Debian has some dumb names too, Wheezy being the most recent). Or Microsoft Bob.

    3. dan1980

      Try searching MS with Bing . . .

      I did this for weeks but gave up. The most inexplicable part was that the site I had the most trouble getting usable results from was Microsoft! (Technet, KBs, etc...) I found myself using Bing through the day but switching to Google anytime I wanted to search for MS content. After a few days I realised I was cutting off my nose to spite my face and just gave in.

  11. Thunderbird 2

    Why is there not a link to the "Advanced Search" from the "Home Page" ?

    I've been using the so called Advanced page for years now. It usually manages to give very relevant answers in the first page, but tonnes of cruft in subsequent pages. It's worst fault is that it doesnt always obey the "MUST HAVE ALL OF THESE KEYWORDS"

    I guess Google's philosophy is bung the searcher more results, cause the more results we give the greater the chance they'll click on a page (that page will have one of our advert banners too)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will it end up like YouTube ?

    Where a search for anything which isn't RIAA-promoted modern shite returns thousands of videos of kids in their bedrooms "showing" you how to play the song.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    face, voice, dick

    and harry, google knows it all. Or tries hard to be there.

  14. K. Adams

    I'm surprised Google didn't farm the work out...

    ... to Watson:


    Maybe we can see a Hummingbird vs. Watson competition on Jeopardy!...?

    1. stephajn

      Re: I'm surprised Google didn't farm the work out...

      "Maybe we can see a Hummingbird vs. Watson competition on Jeopardy!...?"

      Would be a great excuse to bring out Ken Jennings again....

      But actually it would be incredibly cool to pit these two computers against each other. I imagine Alex getting really lonely on stage talking to Watson and uhhhh....hmmmmm.....what would Google's computer be named?

  15. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Me like

    Google's recent improvements including the stuff that looks like it was inspired by the short-lived and terribly named but quite useful Cuil. And as long as Google continue to add stuff that works people will continue to use their services.

  16. ckm5


    they should have called it Skynet.....

  17. JLV

    speaking of clever search engines... what's Wolfram Alpha up to these days?

    how come Wolfram Alpha still doesn't get fairly obvious queries like "co2 emission per capita canada"

    This gets me the Canada-wide emissions, not per capita. In fact, it specifically drops "per capita", which seems like an obvious qualifier on by-country quantities.

    Is Wolfram still hoping to deliver its goal of context-aware quantitative information? Dead in water?

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