Kim Kardashian And What Google Thinks About HerBy: Chris Crum - October 22, 2012
Week after week, Kim Kardashian, love or hate her fame, dominates popular culture and interest from web searchers. She regularly appears as a trending topic on various sites across the web, and many people just can’t seem to get enough of her and her family (and other people she is associated with).
With that in mind, it seems worth exploring how well Google, which accounts for the majority of web searches, handles queries for “kim kardashian”. Is it doing its job in providing timely, relevant information that people obsessed with this celebrity are seeking?
Providing the most relevant and timely information could become more of a challenge for Google going forward. The search engine has been battling publishers for longer than I can remember, and in some countries faces losing some major sources of content. There are proposed laws in France and Germany, which would require Google to pay publishers for access to content. Google would likely go the route of simply dropping these publications from Google News. In Brazil, a major portion of publishers have already pulled themselves out of Google News. It remains to be seen how much users miss these publications.
Google is severely lacking any real-time updates from Twitter, and this too, applies to celebrities, who do plenty of Tweeting. As I discussed in a recent article, Google risks driving news seekers (including all the people looking for the latest chatter about Kardashian) to Twitter.
As of the time of this writing, Kim has tweeted 15 times in the past 24 hours. Google will provide a link to her Twitter profile among the first several results, but you’re not seeing the tweets, as you might have been able to if Google and Twitter still had a deal to enable Google’s real-time search feature. Google is also not showing what people are saying about her in the moment, which it otherwise could have (and would have) done.
Google is pretty good at getting you fresh articles about Kardashian (or any other topic). Looking at the page here, the top result is an article from five minutes ago, but this is still hardly a representation of real time. It took that writer some amount of time to put that article together, get it edited, post it to the web, and get it crawled by Google. How many tweets about Kardashian might have rolled in through Twitter in that time?
If you’re not familiar with Kim Kardashian, and you want to know more information about her, and who she’s associated with, Google does a decent job, thanks to its Knowledge Graph feature, which surfaces the boxes on the right-hand side of the page. Here, you can get easy access to her Wikipedia page, with some key facts displayed right on the search result page.
For instance, we see her birthday, her weight (though we have to wonder how accurate it is, and how often it is updated), her height, her net worth, and her high school. Google then shows us a handful of TV shows and movies she’s appeared in, and other people who people who search for Kim Kardashian search for. In this case, that would be Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, and Kanye West and Kris Jenner.
Last week, Google revealed a new feature to make the “People Also Search For” section a little more informative. If you didn’t know about Kanye West’s dating of Kim Kardashian, for example, you might wonder why West appears in this section. With the new feature, Google should tell you, though the feature does not appear to be present yet for this particular query. The company did say the feature would be expanded over time.
What do you think? Is Google delivering the goods on Kim Kardashian? What about other celebrities? News in general?
Lead image: Kim Kardashian’s Facebook Page