By recognizing word sequences, Search can also understand the context of words in the query. For example, it is now better to understand queries where prepositions such as “for” and “too” are important for their meaning. If you look in the past for “Brazil travelers to USA need a visa”, you will see results tailored to Americans who want to travel to the top of the stack to Brazil. After implementing BERT, you’ll first get links to information about getting a US visa as a Brazilian.
Here’s another example: Prior to BERT, Google is providing general results on how a prescription is filled when you type something like “Can you get medicines for a pharmacy?” Enter. Now the search prioritizes the results with instructions on how to run the prescription for another person. This is what you would mean by such a query.
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At a press event announcing the major search update, BuzzFeed News stated that Google vice president of Search Pandu Nayak also gave this question an example: “How old was Taylor Swift when Kanye went on stage?” Before BERT, Google would have returned a video of Kanye’s infamous crackling noise at the MTV Video Music Awards. Now the first result is a snippet of a BBC article with Swift’s age – it’s even highlighted to make sure you see it.
Despite the massive update Google admits that the search is far from perfect. If you’re asking, “Which state is south of Nebraska?” Google, BERT will continue to provide results for a community called “South Nebraska” instead of Kansas. Nayak wrote in his announcement mail that “understanding speech remains a constant challenge and motivates [the team] to further improve the search”. Currently, BERT is only applied to English-language queries in the United States. However, Google plans to extend its reach to other regions and languages over time.