Google PaLM: A Next-Generation Search Technology

Google PaLM
Image Credit: Pixabay


Google has been in the search game for over 20 years. But their latest project is to change the search game as we know it. We are introducing Google PaLM, Google’s self-taught next-generation search technology.

PaLM is a next-generation search technology designed to provide more relevant and accurate results for users’ queries.

It is an acronym for Pathways Language Model, which refers to the two key factors the algorithm considers when ranking results.

PaLM was designed to be a more intelligent and efficient way of handling search requests. It does this by considering the user’s search history, not just the keywords they typed.

In this blog, we will explore how the PaLM algorithm works and discuss its potential implications for the future of search.

What is a Pathways Language Model (PaLM)?

Google PaLM pathways

The Pathways Language Model is Google’s self-taught next-generation search technology. Google Pathways AI was built to help users quickly and accurately find a source of information.

But what it does is much more complex. PaLM has thousands of algorithms designed to handle each search process step.

These algorithms work together to analyze the query, the content on the page, and user behavior patterns. After this analysis, PaLM ranks pages based on their relevance to a question.

The algorithm can consider the user’s entire search history. Not just the keywords they typed in. This provides more relevant and accurate results for the user.

How does Google Pathways AI Algorithm work?

PaLM’s algorithm is the source of the “Fully Informed Modeling” technology that makes it so popular. Google has described the model as a “white-box model.” PaLM doesn’t rely on keywords as the sole means of ranking results.

Instead, this technology considers each query a user is likely to ask. Then, it uses these patterns to improve search results.

There are two main tools that PaLM uses to analyze each search request and make a ranking decision. These are the query-dependent model and the query-independent model.

1. Query-dependent model

The query-dependent model is based on the user’s past behavior. It analyzes every search request to determine how users may want to refine or adjust their future demands.

When a user searches for specific information, PaLM looks at the keywords they searched for in the past.

This helps Google distinguish between queries that have been asked already. And new questions that have not been asked before.

It also includes previous and future titles and Meta descriptions. To determine further how specific pages can rank. PaLM then uses this knowledge base to predict how users may want to refine their search later.

2. Query-independent model

The query-independent model is the one that ranks pages in the resulting list. This model tries to find new ways of identifying relevant pages based on other factors besides keyword relevancy.

For example, take keywords and titles as a guide. But Google will also look at other factors such as position on the page, SEO activity, and server latency. In short, Google looks at the whole page, not just its words.

This is a newer model than the query-dependent. It uses multiple signals to determine a page’s relevance. By identifying relevant pages, PaLM then ranks them based on their performance in these areas:

2.1 Position

Based on where a page appears on the search results page. Its position determines its relevance. For example, the first result on a page is usually the most relevant.

2.2 Activity

PaLM determines how much activity has occurred on that particular page. For instance, the more links pointing back to that page, the more relevant it will seem.

2.3 Server latency

PaLM measures a page’s time on Google’s servers. This happens in milliseconds and determines how that page is relevant to the search request.

Key Takeaways

  • Innovative Language Model: Google’s PaLM is a machine learning and responsible AI breakthrough.
  • Multilingual Capabilities: PaLM was trained on multilingual texts from over 100 languages, which allows the model to achieve advanced language proficiency.
  • Coding Proficiency: PaLM was trained on open-source code datasets, making it proficient in over 20 programming languages like Java, Python, Ruby, and C.
  • Integration with Google Products: PaLM is the foundation on which multiple Google products are built, including Google Generative AI Search, Duet AI in Google Docs and Gmail, Google Bard, and more.

What makes the few-shot learning method more interesting?

Google PaLM learning

PaLM uses a combination of query-dependent and query-independent models. The query-independent model uses information from the page to determine its contents’ relevance.

For example, an article about mathematical equations is more relevant than one about a car model. However, this information regarding ranking results for these pages is not available to PaLM.

Google has created a new method based on Large Language Models called “few-shot,” learning to solve this problem. This method allows PaLM to retain this information in just a few queries. After that, it can distinguish between these two types of pages.

What Makes Google PaLM Notable?


According to Google, PaLM has been “self-taught.” Unlike other AIs, PaLM does not follow a predetermined set of instructions. Instead, it organizes and interprets information on its terms.

For example, Google PaLM contains thousands of English language texts. Once PaLM could determine which words were relevant and irrelevant to the task. It was then able to analyze data with these terms present.

Also, its performance with arithmetic and reasoning tasks is high. This becomes even more impressive, considering PaLM was not pre-programmed with math facts. It was, instead, able to learn these on its own.

What is the Future of Google PaLM?


PaLM is one of the most complex Google algorithms. It has the potential to adjust search results and the power to customize them.

Future search engines must be as flexible as PaLM if they survive. They may become obsolete, just like other search engines that fail to adapt if they do not.

In this sense, PaLM represents the possibility of a new way of searching for information and acquiring knowledge online.

Real-World Risk Factors for PaLM


As the Google PaLM algorithm becomes more sophisticated, there is a risk that it will become too powerful. If left unchecked, PaLM could have a profound and dangerous impact on society.

There are three primary risks in Google PaLM:

1. Manipulation of Search Results

It can manipulate search results to achieve the desired outcome. This could push a particular political agenda. Or censor information that Google does not want people to see.

2. Biased Results

PaLM can also produce biased results. This could be done by weighing certain factors more heavily than others. For example, PaLM can give more weightage to results from Google’s products and services.

3. Invasion of Privacy

PaLM may collect sensitive personal information about users. This information can serve marketing purposes. Or to sell to third parties. Google has already been accused of doing this with its other products and services.


Is Google PaLM open source?

Yes, Google PaLM is open source. It is available to use and improve, allowing it to be widely adopted.

How to use Google PaLM API?

The PaLM API is only officially available to some. You can apply via its waitlist if you want access to its API.

Once Google approves your request, you can access it as a developer and integrate it with other applications. If you subscribe to Google Cloud, you can explore the PaLM API available in the Vertex AI platform.

How is Google PaLM different from BARD?

Both Google PaLM and BARD are large language models developed by Google. PaLM is designed to improve multilingualism, reasoning, and coding capabilities.

On the other hand, BARD is a chatbot that has received significant upgrades with the introduction of Gemini. Both models are used in various Google products and features and continue to evolve with ongoing research and development.


Google PaLM is a powerful tool that could profoundly impact society. While it has the potential to be used for good, there is also a risk that it could be misused. Google must act responsibly and ensure that PaLM is helpful to everyone.

More Resources:

Google Bard: Google’s AI Chatbot Explained

What is ChatGPT and How to Use it?