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Google's New Book Search Deals in Ideas, Not Keywords (axios.com) 16

A new Google project called called "Talk to Books" provides answers to questions by drawing on a library of more than 100,000 books. From a report: Tech pioneer Ray Kurzweil debuted the project at the TED conference in Vancouver, and explained that it differs from traditional search by relying on semantics rather than keywords. Keyword search is great when you're hunting down a specific piece of information, but Google -- and digital technology in general -- still has a long way to go when it comes to connecting ideas and answering questions with complete thoughts.

Google's New Book Search Deals in Ideas, Not Keywords

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  • Greeaaaaat... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @11:16PM (#56435063)

    Keyword search is great when you're hunting down a specific piece of information, but Google -- and digital technology in general -- still has a long way to go when it comes to connecting ideas and answering questions with complete thoughts.

    Does that mean that Google search results will continue to be less and less relevant at an ever-increasing pace? I already have to re-refine my searches over and over again, in a drain-swirling process of thwarting Google's hopelessly inept attempts to read my mind. And then all those re-queries I end up trying, result in that fscking Recaptcha thing - and I'm pretty much NEVER signed in to Google, so that process takes two, three, or more minutes, depending on how coy their 'anti-bot' algorithm is being at the time. At which point I either give it up, or have to fire up another browser instance just so I can keep soldiering on.

    Fuck Google, fuck the horse they rode in on, and fuck their attempts at "answering questions with complete thoughts".

    • " I already have to re-refine my searches over and over again, in a drain-swirling process of thwarting Google's hopelessly inept attempts to read my mind. "

      Exactly my thoughts! I absolutely_hate_ that 'did you mean...' stuff, just return what I type in and not what you think I meant!

      • Apparently, we geeks on /. don't have the same search needs as the big mass of joe six packs.

        Like, when we input a weird sequence of letters, we mean that we look for exact occurence of this weird sequence because, e.g., it's the call-sign of a protein sequence and we're looking for article mentioning that peculiar cell receptor.
        But google decides that it's some misspelled common word.
        You end up needing to constantly encircle every single word of your query between quotes.

  • I remember hearing they take aggregate data from emails for ad purposes, does something like this mean they can query emails for expressed ideas without a human reading them, and claim it was just aggregate data they accessed?

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @12:11AM (#56435233)

    All the results I get from this "idea based search engine" could simply be based on smart query term expansion.

    For example, when I say "List some lovers of Casanova.", all I get is a list of books related to Casanova.

    So, are there good examples of queries that actually demonstrate a deeper understanding of books by this new search engine?

  • It's been puzzling me for some time, so I asked Google:

    "Why does the porridge-bird lay his eggs in the air?"

    You know, they can beat Go players and Jeopardy and stuff, right? So I gotta wonder how they missed this. Very unsatisfactory reply. Maybe you'll have better luck.

    • by thomst ( 1640045 )

      swell misquoted:

      "Why does the porridge-bird lay his eggs in the air?"

      Very unsatisfactory reply. Maybe you'll have better luck.

      Well, as a Firesign Theatre fan of close to five decades, this is not the droid you're looking for.

      First of all, the actual question was, "Why does the porridge bird lay its egg in the air?" (Emphasis mine.)

      Secondly (and rather critically), any male bird that lays eggs anywhere is a bird I'd like to see ...

      • by swell ( 195815 )
        Sorry, but wrong. Remember, it's Firesign; the gender of the bird is an important part of the joke. Do a search and you'll find this exact wording supported by Phil Proctor.
        • by thomst ( 1640045 )

          swell remonstrated:

          Sorry, but wrong. Remember, it's Firesign; the gender of the bird is an important part of the joke. Do a search and you'll find this exact wording supported by Phil Proctor.

          Damn.

          Rather than searching the Internet, I simply listened carefully to the actual bit [youtube.com] from I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus again.

          And yes, you are correct, sir. It's "his" not "its".

          Amazing how our preconceptions can affect our perceptions. I misheard it in 1971, and I've continued to mishear it ever since.

          Until now, that is. Thank you for calling my attention to this misperception.

          Carry on ...

  • ... still has a long way to go when it comes to connecting ideas and answering questions with complete thoughts.

    Customer: [twenty-word utterance of word salad]

    Google Books: Please express a complete thought.

    Customer: [doubles down on word salad]

    Google Books: Not even close.

    Customer: Find what I want, or I'm going to bleeping tear you a new one!

    Google Books: Yes, that does qualify as a complete thought. Unfortunately, it's not searchable.

    Customer: You are so getting it, as soon as I find my baseball bat.

    Goog

  • That idea search engine is not impressive. I asked question in natural language, and since there were no additionnal keywords to narrow the search, answers were almost all the time relevant to fields others that the one I thought about.

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire

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