Imagine a future in which a search would give you exactly what you wanted; because the search engine understands the context of your intent. This is the future promised by Google’s new Knowledge Graph, an innovative piece of technology that will give “meaning” precedence over precise words.
The knowledge graph builds content relevance by correlating data from past preferences, your user profile, browsing behaviour, as well as other information you have looked up. The function will include an information panel, much like a Wikipedia blurb, beside your regular blue links but importantly, Google will also be able to expand your query through the connections they have established. Therefore, a search of Leonardo Da Vinci would open up Da Vinci’s works, the renaissance and other influential artists of his time – like Michael Angelo and Raphael. A search for “windows” may surface results for products, installers or even software, based on what is deemed to be your intent!
You might think his is the natural progression for Google, combining all their acquired resources to give users exactly what they are looking, while never leaving Google’s web space. Think about it, since Google acquired YouTube and formed a special relationship with Wikipedia, they have controlled two of the most influential information sites on the internet. You want to know what Canwest was; you go to Wikipedia. You want to hear Jay-Z’s latest hit or check out what the Hunger Games is all about? Google will take you to a music video or a movie trailer on YouTube.
However, Google’s ability to have greater control of information raises serious concerns, particularly with their control of the “meaning” and the sponsored results spawned through the Knowledge Graph (we will expand on this in a further article). Another concern stems from its impact on younger generations of students and employees, who may gradually become “informationally lazy” ; thanks to Google’s ability to practically research queries.
Still, you can’t deny the convenience or the world of knowledge this initiative will open up for millions of Google users. This also includes the business community who will not only save time on research but also get a sense of what is important to their potential customers; particularly as the Knowledge Graph will incorporate user search patterns much like Amazon.com’s recommended list. With connections established through user queries, companies will have direct market research.
Incorporating the Knowledge Graph throughout Google will be continuous and time consuming process, one that will forever change how we surf the web; ‘to Google’ will never be the same again.