5 Industries Semantic Search is Disrupting

It’s hard to imagine a time before search engines, or a point where you couldn’t put your hand in your pocket and pull out an answer to almost any question. Soon, it will be equally as difficult to think of life before semantic search.

Lexical search engines have advanced a lot over the last 30 years, and the algorithms that power them are now incredibly complex. You can learn more about how they work and why they matter from our deep dive into SEO.

But their successes are still essentially based on the letters and words you input. Semantic search – systems that understand the context of your question, including your own previous behavior – will get you results that really answer your questions in a heartbeat.

For some industries, this will completely change the way companies interact with the public.


In some ways, those shelves by the checkout in the grocery store were stocked based on the same logic as semantic search. They were filled with items store visitors might want – gum, batteries, and all those other little things shoppers forget.

Whereas those shelves were stocked based on limited contextual information about shoppers – mainly the fact that they were shoppers – companies are using semantic search to predict what other items you might want to buy with incredible accuracy.

Instead of recognizing you as a shopper, these e-commerce stores now recognize you as you, and take into account things you’ve bought before, things you’ve looked at but not purchased, and things that are often bought alongside the items in your basket.

This isn’t going to be limited to industry giants. Inc.com recently reported Shopify will make semantic search features available to the sellers on its platform.


It can be hard to explain symptoms in a few keywords, and they are easily misunderstood. Semantic search can get a fuller understanding of what your symptoms mean. It’s able to check through a vast range of data from different sources to find information that’s helpful.

It’s also transforming the way healthcare professionals themselves use big data. Because semantic search is able to understand the relationships between different bits of information, it’s able to trawl vast data sets much quicker than a human ever could, completing weeks or months’ worth of work in just a matter of hours, according to one JAMIA study.

If that sounds hard to believe, you can learn more about how semantic search uses vectors to understand the relationship between data in MongoDB’s feature on semantic search.

Media and entertainment

Remember TV channels? The idea of scanning channels for the right show seems odd now. But more choice hasn’t made it any easier to find something you want to watch.

Streaming companies’ success depends on how well they find you things to watch. These platforms are now turning to LLMs to leverage semantic search in connecting different shows, according to TechTalk reports on AI in media.

That means much more than just a program’s genre will be considered when looking for other things you might like for the same reason.

Travel and Hospitality

Planning a holiday is stressful. There are so many things to take into consideration when picking a destination, a place to stay, gathering ideas for things to do, and deciding where to eat.

That can quickly lead to a rabbit hole of endless search efforts trying to find ideas right for you.

Expedia is already exploring semantic search, considering the places you like, the way you want to travel, and the budget you have available, among other things, to find holiday ideas you’ll actually like.


Anyone who’s spent any time looking for a job, and let’s face it that’s everyone, knows how draining it can be poring through hundreds and hundreds of job postings looking for just one that’s the right fit.

Often, it can be hard to ensure even basic information about your employment background is factored in, like where you live, how long you’ve been working, or what skills you’ve learned.

Semantic search can make this process much simpler by considering your abilities, your goals, and your history when sorting through the thousands of job listings spread across the internet.

If you want to learn how AI could be transforming your business, check out our breakdown of 11 AI business solutions.

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