It seems, at long last, that Google has added some semantic thinking into the search mix. Ori Allon, the Technical Lead with the Google Search Quality Team, and Google Snippets Team Engineer Ken Wilder, have confirmed the roll out of the improvement to Google search.
With immediate effect, Google is deploying a semantics based technology that can "better understand associations and concepts" related to a search in order to provide a more useful selection of related search items.
In a posting on the official Google blog, an example is given of a search for the 'principles of physics' which would, courtesy of the new algorithms, understand related terms include the likes of "angular momentum," "special relativity," "big bang" and "quantum mechanic."
So Google is now targeting more queries, in more languages, and with offering more relevant suggestions for search refinement as a result. It is also extending the length of the 'snippets' returned with a search, depending upon the length of the original search query. From now on, if you enter a search query longer than three words you will get the newly increased snippet length to provide more contextually accurate information.
In reality this is actually hugely helpful. Take the example of a search for the tilt and distance from the sun in regard to the Earth's rotation around it. The old snippets would not have enough space to show the context for all the words used, but the new extended snippet will show much more contextual information and as a result enable you to choose the best fit from amongst the returned sites at a glance.