• August 27, 2020

Yext Releases Milky Way Search Algorithm Update

Business search technology provider Yext today launched Milky Way, the latest upgrade to the natural language processing (NLP) algorithm that powers Yext Answers, Yext's site search product.

Headlining this update is BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Developed by Google, BERT is an open-source machine learning framework for natural language processing designed to better understand user searches. By leveraging BERT within Named Entity Recognition (a process to locate and classify named entities mentioned in unstructured text into predefined categories), Yext Answers can better distinguish locations from other types of entities, including people, jobs, and events.

"When we launched Yext Answers last year, we introduced a new standard of search for websites, and since launch, we've been improving our algorithm constantly to understand natural language questions and help businesses respond to those questions quickly and accurately," said Marc Ferrentino, chief strategy officer at Yext, in a statement. "Today, Milky Way marks our latest major upgrade to the Answers algorithm, leveraging BERT technology so that businesses can answer even more customer questions with greater precision."

Yext's Milky Way update includes the following features:

  • Improved Named Entity Recognition: By leveraging BERT, Yext Answers can now better understand the contextual relationship between search terms. When someone uses a search term that can refer to multiple things, Answers will return a more relevant result by taking into account the correct classification, whether a location, person, or product. For instance, the algorithm can now better distinguish when someone is looking for a turkey sandwich vs. a sandwich shop in Turkey.
  • Improved Location Detection: Now, Yext Answers will filter through locations stored by businesses in their Yext knowledge graphs to surface the best match. This is especially useful if a search term could refer to multiple places, such as Paris, Texas, vs. Paris, France.
  • Updated Healthcare Taxonomy: More than 3,000 new healthcare-related synonyms, conditions, treatments, and procedures have been added to the algorithm's taxonomy.
  • Improved Stemming and Typo Tolerance: The update introduces improved stemming (NLP's ability to recognize different forms of a root word) and refined typo tolerance to better match a search term with results that include variations of that term, such as "integrate" and "integrations."

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