Understanding the knowledge graph

Today Google introduced a new feature in its search environment, the Knowledge Graph. The stated goal of the project is to help users find information faster and more easily.  If you search on a term, Google shows you other topics that relate to that term, not in a typical associated strings manner but in a new semantically inspired things that are associated with things.

From Google:

“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.”

The Knowledge graph does three things:

  1. Helps users find the right things
  2. Provides the best topic summary
  3. Go deeper and broader

From Techcrunch:

“The company has actually been working on the semantic technology that drives this knowledge graph for quite a few years. This specific project, Google told me earlier this week, has been in the works for about the last two years. During this time, the company has been working hard on creating the vast database of structured knowledge that powers the features it is launching today (though Google’s acquisition of Freebase . Today, the knowledge graph database currently holds information about 500 million people, places and things. More importantly, though, it also indexes over 3.5 billion defining attributes and connections between these items.”

Google Product Manager, Jack Menzel

From GigaOm:

“It will increase serendipity,” said Google Product Manager, Jim Menzel, adding that the tool will make searching both more efficient and more rewarding. He cited an example of a family using the tool to consider a Six Flags visit by clicking on a parade of associated images. ”What better way to decide whether to go to an amusement park than to flip through each individual ride?”

Google’s Knowledge Graph takes on two other internet powerhouses, Wikipedia and Facebook, but in different ways.  The new “better summary” is a clear shot at Wikipedia’s encyclopedic approach to providing online users with great information about a wide variety of topics. But the Knowledge Graph is also clearly a challenge to Facebook’s Social Graph and illustrates the dual natural of the digital channel, its about users and their connections to other users in a world organized by content interests.

About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.

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