Google Knowledge Graph Revolutionizes Search
Google has added to its search results a new feature designed to make the search function act "more human". The feature, called "Knowledge Graph", may make the site behave more like rival Microsoft's Bing.
The main aim of Knowledge Graph is to deal with the shortcomings of using typical search terms, which frequently denote a range of very different meanings.
Google gives the example of a search for 'Taj Mahal.' Someone using this term could be looking for the Indian landmark, a musician, a casino, or a restaurant specializing in Indian food. There's no way to know.
At the moment, this search would produce a list of results mixing these different meanings together. As a result, some or perhaps even most of the results on the first page would be irrelevant to the purpose of the search.
Knowledge Graph Refines Google Search Results
To overcome this problem, Google has now created about 3.5 billion categories into which a particular web page can be placed.
When users see search results, they'll also see some buttons that allow them to display only the results relating to a particular category, such as the musician Taj Mahal, or Indian food. (Source: blogspot.co.uk)
In the long run, Google may be able to use these categories to refine results automatically (without asking the user to select a category manually). Such refining could be based on the user's previous activity, or other criteria.
For example, if the user had recently watched a lot of YouTube clips featuring blues musicians, a search for Taj Mahal might in the future favor results related to the musician Taj Mahal.
On the other hand, if the user had recently looked at a lot of pictures of India, the same search term might in the future produce results related to the famed Indian landmark.
Google Summary Box Provides Key Facts
Google also plans to introduce a new 'summary box,' which will appear on the right hand side of its results pages.
When a computer user searches for a specific topic, such as a well-known person, the results page they'll see will contain a box listing some key facts about that topic. (Source: washingtonpost.com)
The idea is that, in many cases, these facts will answer the user's underlying query without having to follow any of the links Google offers in its search results.
But some worry that such a 'summary box' of facts might prove to be an unpopular feature for many website owners, who will see less traffic when Google users follow fewer links.
The current and proposed changes will make Google more closely resemble Microsoft's Bing search service, which was specifically designed to act as a 'decision engine' by answering queries rather simply linking to relevant pages.
It's yet another sign -- like Microsoft's recent announcement of more integration of social networks into Bing's search results, just days after a similar enhancement by Google -- of the two sites learning from one another.
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