The Hummingbird is an entirely new algorithm. It approaches search engine queries in a brand new and intelligent way utilizing new technology combined with older features of the existing algorithms. It is named for the speed and accuracy of the tiny bird.
The purpose of Hummingbird was to focus on and reward sites that can match Google users’ intent. The search focuses on location / geography as well as the specifics of the search. According to Amit Singhal, SVP of Search for Google:
The second key objective is the massive shift towards mobile search. As more people ask questions on their mobile phones the algorithm has to evolve to understand these longer, more complex queries. Google will keep reinventing itself to give you all you need for a simple and intuitive experience. At some point, pulling out a smartphone to do a search will feel as archaic as a dial-up modem