On May 16th, Google introduced us to a new reality of our evolving world. Search has always been about discovery -- about the acquisition of facts, data, and answers. And although search engines have provided links for countless search terms, it has yet to unite that information into a seamless whole. That is, until now.
Google recently unleashed a new facet of Google search – The Knowledge Graph. It appears on the right hand side of your search results page and by piecing together data points, it compiles enough information to give you a broad answer to your search query.
Google is building connections between related data
What’s the point? Google is restructuring to make its search more intuitive – to give you better summaries, correctly identify your desired answers, and provide you with information that has more depth and breadth. It understands and convays Big Data in a way much more natural to us. By compiling information from Wikipedia, Freebase, CIA World Factbook, and other sources it can display answers to the questions you didn’t directly ask. So when you search “Adele” the Knowledge Graph shows biographical information from Wikipedia about the artist along with information about her most popular songs and albums. Users looking for an overview would have to look no further. Theoretically, one search provides answers to questions the searcher hasn’t thought of, and informs the searcher about a number of related topics, places, or people.
According to Google’s blog, the Knowledge Graph “currently contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects” which was compiled over the past two years; more data will be collected, recorded, and displayed in search results as the Graph grows.
This is Google’s new attempt to provide cohesive answers through data discovery, and not just information; to connect vague keywords to real topics. This decreases the number of search tweaks required to find precisely what you need. The words in your search will no longer be disparate points of data, but links in a story that the Knowledge Graph can “intuit” and piece together for you.
In the words of Google, “[The Knowledge Graph] taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do.” As the Graph grows, our search experience will be enhanced as what were once random terms to the search engine take on meaning in part of a story.