Google launched DeepRank in October 2019: DeepRank is BERT

A couple of weeks ago, Google released an excellent movie (as we mentioned in our newsletter) about how search works. We highly recommend you watch it. One portion of that video goes through Google’s launch of BERT, which was internally referenced as the DeepRank project.

DeepRank is live. To be clear, DeepRank did get “launch approval” from Google and has been live in Google Search since October 2019. A Google spokesperson confirmed with us today, “DeepRank was the internal code name for the BERT launch we announced in October 2019.”

So when BERT launched in October 2019, DeepRank launched. DeepRank and BERT are the same thing. In fact, DeepRank is referenced back to a 2017 Google paper.

DeepRank is fully live. While DeepRank/BERT launched initially for 10% of queries, at year later BERT is used in virtually all queries. So DeepRank is not just live, it is live for almost every single query a searcher conducts.

The movie: Here is the movie, the discussion around DeepRank, i.e. BERT starts at about 42-minutes into the video. But note, the video was recorded pre-COVID according to a Google spokesperson. Also, you can see mentioned in the video that DeepRank (aka BERT) received launch approval and as you know, went live October 2019.

Here is the video:

Why we care. There have been some reports that something new named DeepRank is under production at Google and will be live at some point. That is inaccurate. DeepRank has been live for over a year and is proven to be working very well for Google.

Knowing timelines and launches can sometimes help SEOs and marketers understand trends and changes at Google. While you cannot likely optimize for BERT, aka DeepRank, knowing when it launched is an important reference point.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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