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17 May 2012

Google makes search more human with Knowledge Graph

Rachel Hawkes, account director, Elemental By Rachel Hawkes

Google logoSearch engine Google has introduced new functionality to its search algorithm to provide answers to questions directly within the search results.

With the launch of Knowledge Graph, Google say that it is going to help the user discover information more quickly and easily than ever.  It will know understand the contextual meaning of words, and allow users to narrow down the results to the one they mean.  Amit Singhal, senior vice president of engineering at Google uses an example of the ‘taj mahal’ which was always seen by a search engine as just two words - where as the user may mean the Indian monument, or a Grammy Award winning musician or a restaurant.  

Singhal explains, “Now Google understands the difference, and can narrow your search results just to the one you mean. This is one way the Knowledge Graph makes Google Search more intelligent—your results are more relevant because we understand these entities, and the nuances in their meaning, the way you do.”

Knowledge Graph draws upon more both public sources of information such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook but also more than 500 million objects and 3.5 billion facts about those objects and relationships with different objects. Singhal says that Knowledge Graph gets tuned based on what people search for, and what we find out on the web, “Over the years as search has improved, people expect more. We see this as the next big improvement in search relevance.”

That Google search will now draw on this Knowledge Graph means that in many instances the user won’t have to visit an external site to get the information that they need.  As an example, if you are searching for a specific person then Google will deliver the most common searched for data on that person in a separate column to the right of the search results.  This information is pulled from historical search data on what people have searched for in relation to that person in the past, for example – when they were born, education, country of origin etc.  See below example:
Google Knowledge Graph example

Results will also be capable of going deeper than that, as Knowledge Graph will understand the relationships between that person and their spouse, and children.  Singhal says, “It’s not just a catalog of objects; it also models all these inter-relationships. It’s the intelligence between these different entities that’s the key.  We’ve always believed that the perfect search engine should understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want. 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.”

Knowledge Graph is being rolled out first within the US, and will be modified for mobile and tablet devices.

Check out the video below for more

Categories: Technology, News

Tags: Google, search, knowledge graph, search engines, google search, mobile search, tablet search, intuitive search, crowd search

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