Google can identify many synonyms today, but my experience has been Google frequently misses important synonyms. I've started compiling lists of synonyms and even partial search queries (medical searches call these "hedges") to use when searching. The problem of synonyms is one place where citation and classification search shine, as they are independent of the terminology used (and even language independent in the case of a classification like the IPC). There's no one "best" approach; each of these approaches complement each other. And you can do a "combination" search, e.g., of all the documents citing this document, return all that contain a keyword.
Unfortunately classification search has fallen out of favor among the general population, but I can see systems like the Dewey Decimal System being extremely useful when the terminology in a field varies appreciably. Classification search is extremely useful in my work.
When I have the time I'll take a close look at this article. Thanks for posting it.
There was another I can't find right now that looked more polished/professional. But, in short, no it's pretty easy to setup. Just need a machine with a pretty big disk and be ok with an index latency. If you're using elastic search then you're already there on both accounts!
A decent video covering it from a programmers perspective (where I'm coming from) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSS_bos_TPI
From a math perspective there's also good materials.
Essentially Apple + Tree != Apple + Computers allowing you to differentiate search like this.
The problem of meaning disambiguation has been solved with neural nets to a much higher degree than it appears in Google's search engine.