GOOGLE is set to revamp the way its search function operates, as it tries to adapt to the growing amount of information available online.
The internet giant, which employs more than 2,000 people in Dublin, is reportedly changing the algorithm it has used for a decade to search on the web, in the hope of returning more facts and direct answers to direct questions.
The company is adopting a method known as "semantic search" which involves understanding words' meanings and the context they are used in rather than a simple word search.
The change could affect millions of companies and individuals who have invested heavily to make sure their website receives a high ranking in Google searches, and so get greater exposure through Google searches.
The move will be implemented in the coming months, 'The Wall Street Journal' said.
A search for 'Croke Park' currently returns the website of the stadium, its Wikipedia page, and a link to ticket-seller Ticketmaster. Under semantic search it could return information such as the capacity of the stadium, its location, and how to get there.
As well as returning sharper, more concise results, the changes could open up more revenue paths for the firm. The majority of its revenue comes from ads that are placed alongside search results based on what is being searched for. With semantic search those ads may become even more relevant to the search.
Google dominates the search business with more than two-thirds market share of the sector. However, it is being challenged by Microsoft's Bing search engine and was heavily criticised for changes it made last week to the way it uses an individual's data.
Altering its search method may also alienate users who expect to see certain results returned first. Google Search became the market leader because the way it searched the web was seen as more concise than anything that had appeared before.
Google ranked results based on how often a website was linked to by other websites, rather than how often a word appeared on the site.