Google has been rolling out a new feature called the Knowledge Graph. This is a fascinating step forward for search. The Knowledge Graph is a collection of people, places, things and their relationships. It’s googles attempt at indexing the “richer meaning” beneath the keywords we search.
An example I came across recently is “nautilus shoes.” After a search, Google’s Knowledge Graph serves a “See results about,” on the right side of the results page. Nautilus is a brand, but it’s also a common name of a marine creature. If I were looking for results about that creature I could click on nautilus
which filters the results for meaning. Which really gets to the heart of this update: Search engines see search queries as strings of words. They describe the goal of the user, but can’t define it. Let’s look at another example I came across last week.
With the term “Red wing,” the true intent of the user is unknown. They could be looking for Red Wing Shoes, Red Wing the city, the high school Red Wing or the hockey team the Red Wings. All of these ideas are competing for visibility on the same keyword, “red wing.” Now with the Knowledge Graph, users can tell Google what they’re looking for by filtering for meaning, and Google can learn what they are really searching for.
This may seems like a rather simple step, but understanding context beyond keywords is powerful step forward. As Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutt’s puts it, “It’s another step away from raw keywords (without knowing what those words really mean) toward understanding things in the real-world and how they relate to each other.” The Knowledge Graph already has 500 million objects and 3.5 billion facts about the objects and their relationships in the real world. And it won’t stop there: it will continue to grow as it collects data on user intent.
This update is in its infancy. How it will affect products and brands is to be determined. I’m curious to see how the Knowledge Graph will be utilized in the future. In the world of search, it continues to become easier for users to find what they are looking for. Which is why it’s important that your brand can be found where your searchers are looking.