Detroit Lions Head Coach Hire Highlights Google’s Struggle With Real Time
Once again, Google is showing that its Knowledge Graph does not update fast enough.
During the World Series last fall, somebody vandalized the Wikipedia page for the St. Louis Cardinals, calling them a “gay butt sex team”. Wikipedia was quick to address the issue, but this remained in Google’s Knowledge Graph for hours.
— Ben Cook (@Skitzzo) October 28, 2013
Today, news broke that the Detroit Lions hired former Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell as their new head coach. This happened a few hours ago, and Wikipedia has reflected his change of jobs for a while now, but the Knowledge Graph has yet to update. It’s still listing him as the Ravens offensive coordinator.
Now, I’m sure it will update before too long, and nobody’s going to be overly offended that Google is taking a bit to update this info. It isn’t exactly erroneous (as it sometimes is). It’s just slightly outdated at this point (though not nearly as outdated as the images Google chooses to display).
But that’s kind of the point. Google, the dominant search engine on the web by far, really needs to be better at real time. Unfortunately, it’s significantly worse than it was a few years ago, since losing the Twitter firehose, which it’s never been able to make up for.
Sure, Google shows news results for Caldwell showing that he’s now the Lions’ coach. If you search for him, you’ll probably figure it out. But what about those cases that don’t show news results – that don’t make a bunch of headlines. How do we ever know that the Knowledge Graph is up to date at a glance? The reality is that you can’t completely trust it. Not even as much as Wikipedia, which is far speedier in its own updates.
Interestingly enough, the fourth result on a search for “jim caldwell” is a link to NFL.com for his profile as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, which is obviously even more outdated than his job in Baltimore. That’s the fourth best result Google can come up with for Jim Caldwell? And as freshness has become a higher priority than ever in recent years?
If I were taking the “Bing It On Challenge,” I’d have to give the edge to Bing on this one.