In Depth: Google Knowledge Graph
Launched in May of 2012, Google Knowledge Graph is Google’s answer to redefining the way the world looks at data by placing a great emphasis on factual correlation and attempting to replicate how the human mind operates. Google Knowledge Graph is a not a visual graph in the literal sense, but rather attempts to map out the mind through the use of data sets and how things connect to each other. The task of designing this ‘knowledge graph’ and building a database has been no small task; according to Google, they have already compiled 18 billion factual connections that operate within their server to provide the user with a plethora of data at the click of a button. These facts include a number of different categories involving anything from astronomy and architecture to sports and film and are taken and intended to produced in 7 different languages for users all over the world.
How Does It Work?
The initial process of developing Knowledge Graph begins with Google’s traditional search engine tactics. These tactics utilize what are called ‘web crawlers,’ which is a software designed to visit each and every one of the trillions of public websites on the web. Once the web crawlers have accessed a page, they and tasked with gathering all the information from the pages as well discovering any links to new pages on the site or to external sites. Google builds what is known as a sitemap which is essentially the architecture plan for a website before moving on to the next site and continuing the same pattern These web crawlers are constantly moving and indexing new web pages for Google’s database as the web continues to grow. By using this method, Google is able to tell a user exactly where a term is that they are searching for and give display the information to get them to that information.
Google’s Knowledge Graph takes this information that has been indexed and begins to pair things to together with how they correlate with each other and how users search with certain terms in conjunction. For instance, if someone were to search for a particular movie, Google would also want to bring together the actors or actresses that played in that particular movie, when the movie was produced, the genre of the movie, a summary of the movie, and any other information that it might be able to find surrounding that specific movie. Following patterns of users search most often, Google can continue to build up the connections and add millions of new information that is added to the internet every second.
What Does Google Do with This Information?
With the other 18 billion factual connections that Google has produced, the intended goal is not to just help a user find information anymore, but they want to be the source of information for the user. With the help of Google Knowledge Graph collecting and connecting new data sets, Google intends to display this information to the user each time they make a search. The way in which Google has chosen to display the information is by producing a small panel on the side of the search results displaying the characteristics of the search that their program believes the user is looking for. If the same movie stated above were to be searched on Google, the search results that most people are familiar with would appear providing links to different websites pertaining to the movie, but a panel on the side would also appear. This panel will contain a picture of the movies cover, and pertinent information that the user may be looking for about the movie. From this point, a user would be able to read a summary of the movie and read some of the most highlighted facts directly from the Google search window without every having to click on an individual website or go search for the answer.
One of the features that makes this particular search option particularly unique and enticing is that the information on the panel links to the pertinent information displayed. Using the same example as above, if a movie is being searched and a user wants to find out information surround a certain actor who played in the movie, a link to the actors name will be displayed and it will allow user’s to click on the actors name. Google will then redirect the user to another search query with a side panel summarizing and highlighting some of the major facts about that particular actor. User’s can dig as deep as they want into the facts and can essentially follow this web of search results till the end of time until they have successfully searched through and educating themselves through the entire 18 billion factual connections available and growing. The way in which Google highlights this information prevents the users from having to sift through useless information that they are not interested in, and instead, it gets right to the point and gives a direct answer to the user’s search query.
All of the results that are being processed through Google Knowledge Graph and displayed via the side panel are sourced directly from websites, which someone would have had to look at in the first place to find the information, but instead it saves them the time to do other things. However, the one downside of this service is that it is reliant on the reputability of the website which it is grabbing the information from. Some of the summaries being displayed were taken from Wikipedia, and this information is not always 100% accurate. Google allows users to report inaccuracies directly from the Google Knowledge panel and from that point Google will review the data and make changes where necessary to improve accuracy and the service.
How Does it Look?
In terms of appearance, the Google Knowledge Graph panel blends beautifully with the traditional search screen that users are so familiar with. Rather than moving around links and the restructuring the page, Google has chosen to insert the panel to the right side of the search results and simply portion out the search results to a fixed size. As for advertisements, they are still there but they are no longer as visible as they used to be. The ads now being displayed during searches blend in underneath the Google Knowledge Graph panel producing revenue a constant revenue stream for Google. These ads will continue to depict advertisements based upon a users search history and geographic location; a user who is searching for a car such as a Camaro in New York will be shown car statistics surrounded and information in the panel, and underneath might be shown car dealerships in the New York area that are selling Camaros. Google Knowledge Graph also works well and maintains it’s aesthetically pleasing appearance and ease of on mobile devices and tablets; therefore these features are available and will be displayed on whatever device a user chooses to Google information on.
What does it Mean For Business?
Online businesses and companies operating with an Internet presence might see a shift in the way SEO strategies operate. One of the benefits of Google Knowledge Graph for businesses is that it will be able to showcase local businesses directly from Google main search page. If a user Google searches ‘pizza,’ Google Knowledge Graph is going to bring up search results for local businesses that serve pizza and reviews of that business from the most popular review sites including Google reviews and Yelp; this will give local businesses front-page exposure and help local customers find a pizza restaurant that they are looking for. However, if a website specializes in biographical data or specialty information, despite the fact that a website will still be displayed in Google’s main search results, a user may find the information they need through Google’s Knowledge Graph panel without ever having to visit a website to look for information, thereby decreasing page visits.
The Google Knowledge Graph continues to grow exponentially each and every day as the size of the Internet expands with the amount of information newly available. Google’s lofty goal is to change keywords and traditional search queries into ‘entities that mean something’ much like how the human brain connects learned information with each new encounter. In addition to building this new Google Knowledge Graph service, Google hopes to expand it’s translation services by indexing and connecting languages and voices from millions of speakers to produce the most accurate language results and grammatically correct statements. By analyzing the grammar of a language and how a user may apply it, Google’s Knowledge Graph will be able to provide users with search results based off what they intend, as opposed to the literal meaning of a word (demonstrated in the pizza example above). Although Google Knowledge graph is still relatively young in it’s implementation, it is an incredibly powerful resource that is sure to ultimately alter the way Google searches are conducted and revolutionize the search engine industry.