Knowledge Graph: Google Officially Announces Its “Things” Results

    May 17, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google has formally announced the “Knowledge Graph,” its way of providing results about “things”. We’ve reported on the products of this a couple of times, as Google has been testing them.

An example would be when you search for a band, and Google puts some boxes on the side of the search results page with some specific info about that band. Likewise for movies, actors, books and people. According to the company, it also includes landmarks, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, celestial objects, works of art, and more.

Beatles on Google

The main theme of the Knowledge Graph, as Google is presenting it, is that it is making Google smarter and better at giving you answers. Better at distinguishing what you mean by certain queries, which may come with more than one meaning. Googles gives the example of Taj Mahal: “do you mean Taj Mahal the monument, or Taj Mahal the musician? Now Google understands the difference, and can narrow your search results just to the one you mean.”

Google Taj Mahal

Google put out the following video talking about it:

This appears to be the big Google change that was discussed in a popular Wall Street Journal article in March, which we wrote about here. In our take, we talked about how Google is doing more to keep people from having to leave its own pages, by providing more info on them – basically, users have less reasons to click through to other sites. It’s wroth noting, however, that Google SVP, Engineering, Amit Singhal, indicated at SMX London this week, that Google’s Search Plus Your World personalized results are generating greater clickthrough rates for search results.

According to the WSJ article, Google’s 2010 acquisition of Metaweb plays a significant role in what is now known as the Knowledge Graph.

Metaweb came with a big open database of 12 million things (including movies, books, TV shows, celebrities, locations, companies and more) called Freebase. There’s more to it than that though.

“Google’s Knowledge Graph isn’t just rooted in public sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook,” says Singhal. “It’s also augmented at a much larger scale—because we’re focused on comprehensive breadth and depth. It currently contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects. And it’s tuned based on what people search for, and what we find out on the web.”

I’m guessing there’s some Google Squared in there too.

“How do we know which facts are most likely to be needed for each item? For that, we go back to our users and study in aggregate what they’ve been asking Google about each item,” explains Singhal. “For example, people are interested in knowing what books Charles Dickens wrote, whereas they’re less interested in what books Frank Lloyd Wright wrote, and more in what buildings he designed.”

The Knowledge Graph is “gradually” rolling out to U.S. users in English.

  • http://www.learnnichemarketing.com Dave Tong

    So that’s what they’re doing with our personal data they have been harvesting lol.

    Seriously comprehensive post though… excellent and thanks.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    Google needs to tread lightly with this as the more that people don’t need to go to websites to get the information they are looking for and simply can get that information from Google’s search engines, then those websites that feed the information into Google will be likely to block the Google Bot from indexing it’s pages. How will those sites that block Google Bot get traffic if they block Google? From other search engines, social networking sites, and other sites that allow paid and unpaid links to be created. Also is a concern about how accurate the information is. Remember Google doesn’t know if the information is correct or not and relies on the public to tell them. Much like with Youtube it’s up to the visitors to flag videos for policy violations or the videos will stay up there forever. This approach of Google policing other sites but not policing their own I think has gone on long enough. Google should have to play by the same rules they want to impose on everybody else. I don’t know about you, but I rarely tell Google they got something wrong. I just don’t have the time to on top of everything else I do in a day and honestly if I have to research my information, then so should Google have to. They can afford it, but don’t simply because it’s easier to throw up junk than to actually fact check it. That’s why there is so much garbage in Google Maps.

  • STR82U

    Chris, we’ve been doing really well after the last Panda and Penguin updates (sorry for not sharing sooner but I believe in Jinx’s). After watching search results in Google Chrome the last few weeks, it appeared they’ve been testing this out for a while (and Bing has recently restyled their results to match). Where we get the most increased traffic from are queries that we also match in a broad way in more than one page of a site. Our normal keyphrases are still appearing but in the case of a directory site, the locations mentioned more often across the site, in articles and cross-reference, have picked up signifigantly in SERPs with both the desired keyprase and long-tail queries.

    “Satellite” sites that focus on keywords per page don’t show the same upswing in popularity, they didn’t change but many competitors that are very similar or that scraped us are falling down which shows AGE still matters. I think this is going to be a good thing for us as well as users; a big question is if it’s really working the way they want it or if we’ll be going through alogrithm woes in the future as they try to refine how to predict a user’s intent.

  • http://creativefrappe.com/ Dave

    I’ve used Google to search for information about roller coasters, such as which ones are the tallest, fastest, and have the most loops. Finding this information used to take multiple searches — I’d find roller coaster sizes on one website, heights on another, and speeds on a third. By manually comparing the sites, I could get the information I was looking for, but it took some time. With Google Squared, a new feature just released in Google Labs, I can find my roller coaster facts almost instantly.

  • Dustin

    So… I guess it’s cool for them to scrap all this data and cut the websites out that the data came from. I mean it’s not like they just figured this data out – they took it from somewhere.

    This is the same thing they are doing with the products as well. This is one of the reasons they what people to upload some much data for products. Amazon does this as well first you sell stuff on it and if it sells well Amazon can see that and begins selling it as well. It’s only a matter of time before google starts selling products as well.