In the last few months, Google has been talking of its intentions to change from a search engine to a knowledge engine. One of their recent steps towards this goal is the launch of Google Graph. It is not a graph in the sense of a pie chart; instead, it graphs the connection between searches and knowledge.
Here’s how Google’s Amit Singhal explained the new graph on the Official Google Search blog:
The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do.
Using semantic intelligence or the gathering of intelligence to solve knowledge gaps, this addition to the search engine gives people either the option to narrow their search results or provides basic facts about their keyword. A box will pop up alongside search results and will also ask people to clarify search queries. For example, searching for Andromeda will give you an additional information box that asks if you meant the galaxy, TV series or the Swedish band.
Once you land on a clarified search result, your box then displays basic facts about your search and related keywords that people commonly search for. If you chose the Andromeda galaxy, the box will display information about the location of the galaxy and its distance from the sun. The box also shows that associated keyword searches are the Milky Way and Jupiter.
The basic facts provided in the box are based on the things people most commonly look for in reference to a keyword. For example, people are most interested in what books Charles Dickens wrote, whereas people who searched for Stephenie Meyer are more interested in what movies she is associated with than her books.
While it is still in its first phase and only pops up with alongside certain search criteria, Google expects the knowledge graph to have a huge impact on the way people search for information. The goal of this graph is to move people towards answering the most common questions they have by simply typing in a key word. Google Graph also links relationships between queries, like when you search for the Andromeda galaxy it shows related searches for other celestial bodies.
Google has more details about knowledge graphs here here.