The Google Search of the future is here. Now. Today. The long-talked-about semantic web — Google prefers “Knowledge Graph” — is rolling out across all Google Search tools, and our most fundamental online task may never be the same again.
Starting today, a vast portion of Google Search results will work with you to intuit what you really meant by that search entry. Type in an ambiguous query like “Kings” (which could mean royalty, a sports team or a now-cancelled TV show), and a new window will appear on the right side of your result literally asking you which entity you meant. Click on one of those options and your results will be filtered for that search entity.
To understand the gravity of this change, you need to know about the fundamental changes going on behind the scenes at Google Search. As we outlined in our report earlier this year, Google is switching from simple keyword recognition to the identification of entities, nodes and relationships. In this world, “New York” is not simply the combination of two keywords that can be recognized. It’s understood by Google as a state in the U.S. surrounded by other states, the Atlantic Ocean and with a whole bunch of other, relevant attributes.
As Ben Gomes, Google Fellow, put it, Google is essentially switching “from strings to things.”
To build this world of things, Google is tapping a variety of knowledge databases, including Freebase, which it bought in 2010, Wikipedia, Google Local, Google Maps and Google Shopping. Currently, Google’s Knowledge Graph has over 500 million people, places and things and those things have at least 3.5 billion attributes.
That’s a lot of things. According to Google, search users will see these new knowledge graph results at least as often as they see Google Maps in results. In fact, this update will have a greater initial impact than the updates that brought Google Images, videos, news and books, combined. It’s big and it’s probably going to be everywhere.