Knowledge Graph: Google Gets Tight With Wikipedia

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Google revealed the Knowledge Graph today, which is Google's attempt to move further away from keyword-based results delivery, and get better at delivering relevant results.

Wikipedia appears to be a major provider of content to this feature. So far, every screen shot I have seen, shows information coming from Wikipedia to be very prominent. Here are a few:

Beatles on Google

Marie Curie on Google

Leonardo on Google

I wish I could mess around with it myself, but I have not been included in the roll out yet.

When Knowledge Graph was being discussed (before we knew it was called Knowledge Graph) back in March, we talked about how Google is managing to give users less reasons to click over to third-party sites. On that note, I have to wonder how much web traffic this feature is going to cost Wikipedia.

According to Wikipedia, Wikipedia has 3,951,359 content pages (27,204,468 page in all, including: talk pages, redirects, etc.). There have been 791,451 files uploaded. It's unclear how much of this Google is actually using, and it's not the only source Google is using.

"Google’s Knowledge Graph isn’t just rooted in public sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook," says Google's Amit Singhal in the announcement of the Knowledge Graph. "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."

Some interesting discussion from Google's Matt Cutts on Twitter related to that:


@pelegri @alexismp I believe yes. says "If Google makes a change, the source provider is told." (mentions Wikipedia)
40 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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While Google's Knowledge Graph may not be relying solely on Wikipedia, I'm curious about how it may work with all of the Wikipedia vandalism that goes on. Granted, Wikipedia is generally quite good at taking care of the vandalism shortly after it happens, but it does happen. Trending searches could lend themselves to such tampering from wily individuals.

While the listing appears to fine right now, look at this screen cap Uproxx posted about the Wikipedia page for Don Draper (assuming it's real...either way, we know people do mess with Wikipedia):

Wikipedia tampering

I'm sure plenty of people would love to mess with Wikipedia info that directly impacts Google's search results.

We don't know how susceptible Google is to such tomfoolery. We reached out to the company for more info on that. We'll see what they have to say if they respond.

Danny Sullivan, who spoke with Google's Amit Singhal during and after a keynote discussion at SMX London this week shared a bit of their discussion on this topic:

Singhal said that Google will use a combination of computer algorithms and human review to decide if a particular fact should be corrected. If Google makes a change, the source provider is told. This mean, in particular, Wikipedia will be informed of any errors. It doesn’t have to change anything, but apparently the service is looking forward to the feedback.

“They really are excited about it. They get to get feedback from a much bigger group of people,” Singhal said.

So that's interesting, and Google does provide a feedback tool on these results, but it's still unclear how much review goes into the results ahead of their delivery on Google. Perhaps it's a tightly run ship. If so, it will be interesting to see if Google can keep up that tightness as the Knowledge Graph grows.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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