Google has confirmed that its new passage indexing in search has not yet gone live and is now likely to roll out in early 2021.
Google revealed its plans to use AI-based tech to power a new passage-based style of indexing back in October last year, after admitting that “very specific searches” were very difficult to get right.
“We’ve recently made a breakthrough in ranking and are now able to not just index web pages, but individual passages from the pages,” Google said in an official blog.
The latest advances will enable Google to better understand the relevancy of specific passages, and how they contribute to the greater whole, rather than trying merely to look at an overall page on its own.
Google said that this will allow it to provide searchers with “needle-in-a-haystack information” and increase the relevance of results for certain queries.
There had initially been plans to roll out the new indexing before the end of 2020, but Google’s Danny Sullivan recently confirmed that it was not yet live in search.
This means that it is likely to arrive during the first few months of 2021, though there is not an official timeline.
When it does eventually go live, Google expects passage-based indexing to have an impact on a small subset of queries to begin with, around 7% in total.
However, it is not targeting just one region as Google has said that all languages will be affected when the change is made globally this year.
After announcing its deployment of the new tech, Google cleared up some confusion on social media about how indexing will occur moving forward.
It said that individual passages will not be indexed independently and that entire pages will still be used for ranking, so in essence, the new technique will see passages become an additional ranking factor.