DeepRank Is Google's Codename For BERT

Nov 4, 2020 • 7:41 am | comments (4) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google DeepRank

Last night I had to get clarification from Google about their internal project name DeepRank. In short, and as that amazing video said at the 44:10 mark "they named their project DeepRank after the deep learning methods used by BERT and the ranking aspect of Search." DeepRank is BERT, at least the name of the project used internally to get BERT implemented into Google Search.

DeepRank went live when BERT went live in October 2019. It is now fully live in almost all queries as of a couple weeks ago. I wrote about this last night at Search Engine Land when SEOs began saying DeepRank was going to launch in the future and was not live yet, so I had to make sure this was clarified.

Why did Google call it DeepRank? Well, Google said it was named DeepRank "after the deep learning methods used by BERT and the ranking aspect of Search." See the GIF above.

Oh, and Google said because the name DeepRank "sounds cool."

I embedded the part of the video where Google says this, just click play, it should jump to that part at 44:10:

Google discusses how this project started, the stress of getting it to work right in search and how it needed approval to go live in Google Search.

A Google spokesperson told me last night "DeepRank was the internal code name for the BERT launch we announced in October 2019." Google also told me that the film was captured pre-COVID, that is why you see all the people being in offices together (they have been working from home since March).

The earliest I can find anything about DeepRank with Google was from this 2017 paper. It is not 100% clear how this works with BERT or not. Dawn Anderson is digging into it to see the relationship if any. So stay tuned for that. Dawn wanted me to add that it is also not clear whether this DeepRank is at all affiliated with Google Research.

In any event - DeepRank is simply a cool code name for the project to get BERT live in Google Search. It is live, has been for over a year, and there is really not much new with DeepRank outside of us knowing the name.

So to summarize and clarify a few bits of misinformation this month:

(1) DeepRank is not new and has been live since October 2019.
(2) Passage Indexing is not about indexing but it is all about ranking.
(3) Mobile-first indexing does index desktop only pages.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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