Mike Kilinski attended the annual Think Auto Google event in Toronto, Canada last week at that event, the head of Google Brain in Canada said that Google now uses click data for rankings. He said Google looks to train their AI models when “someone clicks on a page and stays on that page, when they go back” and so on.

@rustybrick Nick Frost, Head Google Brain Toronto/Canada just confirmed pogosticking part of Google Brain search algo, I have it on tape 😉 https://t.co/pouRARaegm
— Mike Kilinski (@mikekilinski) September 7, 2017
It was not 100% clear if he was talking about just training the models or if it directly impacts the live search results. It might just be used for building new models later based on the feedback they get back from these models. Google has time and time again said that they do not use click data for ranking purposes because it is too easy to spam and too noisy.
But here we have someone at Google supposedly saying they do. Here is the audio recording Mike grabbed:
Your browser does not support the audio element.
Here is the transcript:

Question more practical for auto advertisers… How has or will machine learning improve Google search as it relates to our industry?
Search is a great example of a situation where you have some (could not hear) input and design elements and the relationship between those two things is not too super obvious.
So the input there is a search and the output is the best page for that search.
So when search was invented, like when Google was invented many years ago, they wrote heuristics that had figure out what the relationship between a search and the best page for that search was. And those heuristics worked pretty well and continue to work pretty well.
But Google is now integrating machine learning into that process. So then training models on when someone clicks on a page and stays on that page, when they go back or when they and trying to figure out exactly on that relationship.
So search is getting better and better and better because of advances in machine learning.
So the auto industry, search is getting better, that means search for auto is getting better.

I did email Google last Thursday to get clarification but I have not yet heard back.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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