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Google Changes Search Algorithm

Results now prioritize most recent information
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Google has introduced a new "freshness algorithm" to make search results more timely. The changes will affect around 35 percent of all searches.

Google will now place websites with new information higher than results that don’t feature recent updates. Previously, Google balanced its results between popular websites and recent news in user searches, according to the Toronto Star.

Google Fellow Amit Singhal explained the thinking behind the new search dynamic in a blog post. "Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today's world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute,” Singhal wrote. “Depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old."

The New York Times says that the move is a reaction to people increasingly using social networks for their searches. Networks such as Facebook and Twitter are now popular tools for people wanting up-to-the-minute results, Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land, told the Times.

“This is the result of them saying we need to find a way to more effectively get fresh content up,” Sullivan said. “It does help with the issue of people thinking, ‘Wow, if I need to find out about something breaking, I’ll go to Facebook or Twitter for that.’ ”

“The biggest source of the very freshest information is Twitter, and Google doesn’t have anywhere near the access to that kind of data as it had before,” he added.

The Times reports that Google changes its algorithm about 500 times a year. Most changes, however, only affect a small percentage of results.