Microsoft`s Probase Knowledge Base & Hummingbird
Google`s Hummingbird revealed a Natural Language Processing approach to better understanding the words used in a query, and the concepts behind the relationships within those words.
Microsoft`s Concept Knowledge Base, Probase, does something very similar with the content that it crawls and captures - working to understand the relationships between words it finds and the concepts within them.
It`s likely that Google will use something similar in the near future that is fueled in part by information from query and click logs, that will help to tag and label concepts found on documents it indexes.
As we`ve seen in query suggestions and query refinements, sometimes the concepts that appear for those things in response to named entities - specific people, places, and things (including brands) can have the potential to be helpful to searchers and to the entities within them. Sometimes they may also be prejudicial to those people and places and brands as well.