Friday, May 18, 2012

[Tech Web]: 'Google Knowledge Graph': How It Will Change The Search Engine

Less of a Search Engine and more of an Answer Engine

Google has enhanced its search service to augment search results with sets of associated facts, an improvement that demonstrates greater understanding of queries.

Google calls this innovation a Knowledge Graph. Just as Facebook's social graph is a set of associated data about people and their friends, Google's knowledge graph is a set of associated data about a specific search query.

What this means for users is that certain queries will generate a set of facts to be displayed in the right-hand sidebar panel, alongside the expected search results list. For example, a search for Kanye West would return a Wikipedia summary of the famous artist's life, dates of birth or death, the name of her spouse and children, elements of music he achieved (records sold) , schools attended, and searches associated with him. Truths & Facts not gossip.
I think this would be great for mobile. Something like a quick search. Say if you forgot a song that was on a particular album.. quick find.

What this means for websites like Wikipedia could be less visitor traffic: A searcher looking for widely queried facts may find no reason to click on any of the Google search results links if his or her query has been answered on the Google search results page. Unless doing a book report that would consist of much reading.

Google SVP of engineering Amit Singhal attributed the change to Google's growing understanding of what users deem to be relevant and a better sense of how facts are related.

"We've always believed that the perfect search engine should understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want," he explained in a blog post. "And we can now sometimes help answer your next question before you've asked it, because the facts we show are informed by what other people have searched for."

Some of Google's improved understanding comes from its 2010 acquisition of Metaweb's Freebase database. Google said when it bought the company that its goal was to better understand the relationships between real-world entities.

With its Knowledge Graph, Google becomes less of a search engine and more of an answer engine. It remains to be seen whether Google's answers dam the flow of curiosity that carries clicks and revenue downstream to other websites.

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