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Google's Second Brain: How the Knowledge Graph Changes Search

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the is-this-what-you-meant? dept.

Google 76

waderoush writes "Last spring Google introduced its English-speaking users to the Knowledge Graph, a vast semantic graph of real-world entities and properties born from the Freebase project at Metaweb Technologies (which Google acquired in 2010). This month Google began showing Knowledge Graph results to speakers of seven other languages. Though the project has received little coverage, the consequences could be as far-reaching as previous overhauls to Google's infrastructure, such as the introduction of universal search back in 2007. That's because the Knowledge Graph plugs a big hole in Google's technology: the lack of a common-sense understanding of the things in its Web index. Despite all the statistical magic that made Google's keyword-based retrieval techniques so effective, 'We didn't ever represent the real world properly in the computer,' says Google senior vice president of engineering Amit Singhal. He says the Knowledge Graph represents a 'baby step' toward future computer systems that can intuit what humans are searching for and respond with exact answers, rather than the classic ten blue links. 'Now, when you encounter encounters the letters T-A-J-M-A-H-A-L on any Web page, the computers suddenly start understanding that this document is about the monument, and this one is about the musician, and this one is about a restaurant,' Singhal says. 'That 'aboutness' is foundational to building the search of tomorrow.'"

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Headed for the "Google Graveyard"? (3, Interesting)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about 2 years ago | (#42268059)

Sorry, but I fail to see how this is so different from all those other messy "graphing" methodologies and so-called analytical tools that have laboriously forced themselves into my workspace only to writhe around awhile and die because they have overly-specialized utility, and waste more screen space than Outlook 2013 [arstechnica.net] i.e. mindmaps [google.com] , flowcharts, music maps [google.com] , radar graphs, bubble diagrams [google.com] , et al, not to mention the hundreds of failed graphical programming languages [google.com] .

Call me skeptical, but I think it will end up in the Google Graveyard Of Flops [wordstream.com] .

Re:Headed for the "Google Graveyard"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42268185)

I think you've missed the point. Or you don't understand the technology. This will 100% be merged into search, and be used everyday by every person visiting google.

Could be just an "brain" at this point, but... (3, Interesting)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about 2 years ago | (#42268895)

Thanks, I actually do realize it's being built into the search algorithms, but it appears the upshot of the demo is to float a balloon (as if Google cares to float balloons at all) that they are evolving away from the simple list and are going toward non-list layouts like this space-waster [google.com] and this "collection" [google.com] , and ultimately this interactive bubble diagram [google.com] to - I would imagine - enable the user to fully take "advantage" of the internal algorithms. It seems they have that in mind, and I personally don't like any of them as much as a simple list, and the least one is the graph itself. I may have jumped the gun and in my mind thought they were going to implement the graph as well as the other alternative layouts at the same time, but it doesn't actually say one way or another if the graph-layout will be presented as a tool. I don't see why the wouldn't, they have a mock-up already.

Re:Could be just an "brain" at this point, but... (3, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | about 2 years ago | (#42269545)

RTFA?

they're improving their search algos to account for relations between concepts rather than just statistical relevance applied to strings typed in.

the way the results are displayed seems a small thing to fixate on.

Re:Could be just an "brain" at this point, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42273503)

Those items are only space-wasters to those people who are looking for a specific website or type of website.

For a person seeking general information on a topic, person, or event, they are an invaluable time-saver, and will only become more valuable as they are refined.

Integrating this technology with Wikipedia would be a boon to society, especially if we could make it public property.

Re:Headed for the "Google Graveyard"? (4, Informative)

Jeremi (14640) | about 2 years ago | (#42268291)

The obvious difference would be that Google never presents its graph to the user explicitly, it only uses it internally to (hopefully) come up with more-relevant search results.

So you won't have your GUI cluttered up by the Knowledge Graph.

Re:Headed for the "Google Graveyard"? (1)

Khalid (31037) | about 2 years ago | (#42276399)

The obvious difference would be that Google never presents its graph to the user explicitly, it only uses it internally to (hopefully) come up with more-relevant search results.

So you won't have your GUI cluttered up by the Knowledge Graph.

More precisely it's a Semantic network : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_network

Re:Headed for the "Google Graveyard"? (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#42270873)

It's a graph. You know, that maths stuff. Not some lazy typing for graphic.

But yell, math is hard. Let's go shopping, uh?

Re:Headed for the "Google Graveyard"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42273627)

I think the main difference from all those other messy "graphing" methodologies is that this one has no graphs, at least based on TFA.

Re:Headed for the "Google Graveyard"? (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 2 years ago | (#42284463)

Nice SEO spam there. Trade front page today!

So it's basically Watson? (2)

ArcadeNut (85398) | about 2 years ago | (#42268139)

While Watson was somewhat specific to Jeopardy, I'm sure the same principals could be applied to Google Searches.

Re:So it's basically Watson? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42268331)

No, Watson was an answer engine more like Wolfram Alpha. Where this is more of adding contextual comprehension/understanding to search terms.

Re:So it's basically Watson? (3, Funny)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 2 years ago | (#42269729)

No, Watson was an answer engine more like Wolfram Alpha. Where this is more of adding contextual comprehension/understanding to search terms.

So this is a... question engine?

42!

Watson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42268863)

"While Watson was somewhat specific to Jeopardy"

That was kind of the point, Jeopardy asks specific structures of questions, which limited the set to something that made IBM look good. Which presumably is why IBM chose it for their PR.

"I'm sure the same principals could be applied to Google Searches"

I'm also sure IBM didn't invent that, but certainly did patent it. They are the worlds biggest patent troll.

No it is basically a link to wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42270427)

and the little fast facts panel within wikipedia.

Re:No it is basically a link to wikipedia (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#42270877)

It's rather the database that can generate those panels instead of enetering them manually....

I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (3, Interesting)

bessie (212155) | about 2 years ago | (#42268165)

... and what appears to be its associated features.

Eg. When I search on my Android phone, there is *no way* to force it to do unweighted searches for keyword prevalence, or even a reasonable approximation thereof (while trying to avoid SOE-seeding keyword-heavy websites, for example).

I always get stuff that Google "thinks I want", and I get that little nicely-formatted shorthand result set up-top as the first result (a map, a fact or figure, a schedule), and it waits around for awhile before returning the rest of the results.

I don't want Google to give me what it thinks I want, or SHOULD want, or even what "most people" want - I want a pure result set basic on simple pattern matching in the dataset.

I know it's a lot more complex than that under the hood, and subject to all kinds of definitions of what a "match" is. But now I am inundated with "apps you may be interested in" and other items for sale or marketing tie-ins or "latest and greatest", and not very often what I'm actually searching for.

I wish Google would let you turn off all those pre-guessing "features" for folks like me who just want to search for particular, unweighted things.

- Tim

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

bessie (212155) | about 2 years ago | (#42268221)

'scuse me - SEO, not SOE. :-)

- Tim

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#42268371)

You know you can quote things right? There are other ways to help google find what you want.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (4, Interesting)

islisis (589694) | about 2 years ago | (#42268467)

Currently I have to quote almost every keyword due to the issues drawn in parent and compounded by the change from + syntax in the old system.

Search is not what it used to be, these days sites are more interested telling you what to search for than asking

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (2)

bessie (212155) | about 2 years ago | (#42268553)

You know you can quote things right? There are other ways to help google find what you want.

Yes indeed. It helps, but still not as much as it used to before they changed the searching methodology a year or two ago. I liked the older syntax as well (using the plus instead of quotes) - not as bad on the desktop, but quoting things on a phone is a pain.

- Tim

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

ikarys (865465) | about 2 years ago | (#42268869)

I have a vegetable that said "I am not an animal"

Hmm I'm not sure if quoting your unknown vegetable would help.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

Inda (580031) | about 2 years ago | (#42271583)

You know there's a "verbatim" option?

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=verbatim&tbs=li:1

"&tbs=li:1" in the query string does it (I think).

There must be a custom search for Firefox's search bar - if there isn't, it's a 5 minute job creaing one.

I don't understand all this Google hate. They gave us so much in the search arena. They still cater for the nerds. They continue to offer me more than I offer them. Why all the hate?

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

Inda (580031) | about 2 years ago | (#42271629)

No, I'm not sorry for replying to my own post.

There are add-ons, option changes, defaults, search toolbars, customer searches, plug-ins and my aunty Fanny available for all the browsers if you want vanilla search results.

Google just told me so.

I'm done with the internet for today.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#42268851)

So use another search engine. Bing and Yahoo! still exist. Heck, AltaVista still exists. So do Metacrawler and Dogpile. Go back in time, my friend, until you are happy.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 2 years ago | (#42269445)

So use another search engine. Bing and Yahoo! still exist. Heck, AltaVista still exists. So do Metacrawler and Dogpile. Go back in time, my friend, until you are happy.

Thanks to Google, the majority of results on most of those search engines is a steaming pile of fake linkfarm websites. That's not to say you shouldn't go try other search engines - Google is the main target of the SEO that leads to the linkfarms and it does a pretty poor job of avoiding them. But they were better back before Google, when well planned (often boolean heavy) searches were more likely to lead to relevant results.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#42275421)

As another commenter pointed out, all of the search engines I listed actually use a combination of Google, Bing, and Yandex results. All three search engines penalize and ban people for linkfarming, and at least Bing uses metrics based on something similar to Google's PageRank methodology. In fact there have been popular images in circulation that criticize Bing for doing exactly what GGP requested: not attempting a deeper semantic analysis of the input query (specifically regarding the query 'movie where no children are born', although it looks like Bing now returns relevant results, i.e. Children of Men, for that input.)

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (2)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#42269637)

Yahoo uses Bing.
Altavista uses Yahoo.
Metacrawler uses Yahoo, Google and Yandex.
Dogpile uses Yahoo, Google and Yandex.

DuckDuckGo uses Yahoo but allegedly also does some other stuff.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#42275251)

Binghoodex it is.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (4, Interesting)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 years ago | (#42268907)

I don't want Google to give me what it thinks I want, or SHOULD want, or even what "most people" want - I want a pure result set basic on simple pattern matching in the dataset.

This, exactly. For my purposes, Google has become significantly more inconvenient to use, and its results much less useful, over the past 5 years or more. I now have to use an 'allintext' operator for almost every search, and often the directive is simply ignored. And increasingly I have to put double quotes around every search term, because otherwise I get results that contain Google's idea of synonyms, (and not-so-synonyms), of my search terms; the 'synonyms' almost universally represent irrelevant junk.

From the sound of it, with this new initiative Google is about to become entirely useless for 90+ percent of my searches. I really have no objection to them coming up with new filtering and relational algorithms - just let me turn off all of the preemptive, predictive, and utterly wrong crap-filled processing so I can get the info I need without trying to figure out how to game their intrusive filters and pointless predictions.

FWIW, the fact that Google DOESN'T differentiate between "Taj Mahal' the palace and 'Taj Mahal' the artist without deliberate user prompting is a GOOD thing. Such ambiguities are the stuff of diversity, the pathway to new knowledge, and the breeding ground for new associations, ideas, and connections. Google's latest bit of shiny is a path to sterility, and a dumbing-down of the Web.

Google has always been good at mining the Web for raw data, but they have always totally sucked at divining and predicting needs and intentions, and I really wish they'd just stop trying.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (2)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 2 years ago | (#42269475)

This, exactly. For my purposes, Google has become significantly more inconvenient to use, and its results much less useful, over the past 5 years or more. I now have to use an 'allintext' operator for almost every search, and often the directive is simply ignored. And increasingly I have to put double quotes around every search term, because otherwise I get results that contain Google's idea of synonyms, (and not-so-synonyms), of my search terms; the 'synonyms' almost universally represent irrelevant junk.

I often start from the advanced search page when I don't feel like typing out behavior-modifying operators and I too have problems with things like allintext just being ignored in my results or some of my words being replaced with a list of supposed synonyms that don't make any sense for me.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42272463)

And the search should be repeatable - at least within a suitably short time frame e.g. the next day.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about 2 years ago | (#42272657)

The problem is that the processing filled system appeals to the masses. Niche search - in this case defined as searches by people who know how to exactly specify what they mean with great precision - will never be as common as poorly specified searches that benefit from correction and prediction, even if it's done badly. Turning off such features would be wonderful but the demand for them to do so is probably pretty limited.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

skids (119237) | about 2 years ago | (#42269523)

I wish Google would let you turn off all those pre-guessing "features" for folks like me who just want to search for particular, unweighted things.

Really I'm not at all bothered by Google putting in new methodologies and features. What bothers me is, as you mention, they don't give you much ability to tweak the site's behavior. That in combination with their tendency to just discontinue things on a whim really has me searching for alternatives more often. I need reliable tools, not this-month's surprise package.

You might try DuckDuckGo. I find their coverage to be a bit thin still, but those that were using it before me say it's improving.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42269855)

If these weren't objectively better results, Google would not push the feature live. You may not like them, but I can guarantee you that there are mountains of data proving that nearly everyone else does.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 2 years ago | (#42270463)

I don't want Google to give me what it thinks I want, or SHOULD want, or even what "most people" want - I want a pure result set basic on simple pattern matching in the dataset.

Then you shouldn't use Google, as they have cared since their early beginnings for the things you do not want. Their secret page ranking and search heuristics is the main reason why they became the most popular search engine. (Not that I ever had any problems finding things with HotBot, wonder what happened to it BTW.)

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#42270899)

I don't want Google to give me what it thinks I want, or SHOULD want, or even what "most people" want - I want a pure result set basic on simple pattern matching in the dataset.

Well, google dwarfed Altavista by giving back the results people usually wanted. and NOT the results of simple pattern matching because even back in those days the results of pattern matching always were random junk, created to specifically match common patterns. It's called search engine spam.

Creating a useful metric for "relevance" is what makes a good search engine.

Re:I Hate The Google Knowledge Graph (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 2 years ago | (#42271117)

The worst thing is when pressure from relevance starts to generate genuinely useless results. For example, Google considers "opens" and "closes" to be synonyms in certain contexts. (You can do a search with "closes" as a term and find "opens" boldened in search results as a match.) Bafflingly.

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Well played Google, now it is my move. (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#42268233)

mm. Knowledge Graph eh? Google, Well played. well played.

Now I counter your Artificial Intelligence with my natural stupidity. Check. Mate.

Game Over. Boing!

Re:Well played Google, now it is my move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42268693)

mm. Knowledge Graph eh? Google, Well played. well played.

Now I counter your Artificial Intelligence with my natural stupidity. Check. Mate.

Game Over. Boing!

Bing?

Y'know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42268325)

There's some intelligence on the side that formulates the query, too. Sometimes we know what were searching for, and don't need the system second guessing us all the damned time.

Re:Y'know (2)

bessie (212155) | about 2 years ago | (#42268365)

I agree. I felt Google results were the best and most accurate (for what I was searching for) about 2 years ago or so.
I could be very specific and get back exactly the results I wanted.

Now that's pretty impossible for more obscure searches.

Re:Y'know (2)

Kalten (20368) | about 2 years ago | (#42268797)

That would be why I have the "Google Searches Exactly What You Type" and "gooverbatim" Greasemonkey scripts. They mitigate a lot of the general crappiness of Google search these days. (I started using them after I tried searching for a way to convert from a WPF Visual to a Windows Metafile, and Google kept insisting that I must mean to be searching for 'wmf' and 'metafile' instead of 'wpf' and 'metafile'.)

Re:Y'know (2)

SnowZero (92219) | about 2 years ago | (#42285097)

There seems to be very little misunderstanding if I just type your actual question:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=convert+from+a+WPF+Visual+to+a+Windows+Metafile [google.com]

One thing that I think trips up people who used web search for a long time is that you drop words you don't think are important for keyword searches, but that actually hurts now that search engines use more than keywords. Keyword spam killed keyword search a decade ago, and regular people could not use pure keyword search anyway; so now (whether we like it or not) all search engines try to operate at more of a semantic level. If you go in with that mindset you can still find almost anything within a few tries.

Re:Y'know (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#42269589)

Yeah, in the last year or so especially they seem to have gone to shit.

I have to quote half the words I type in, and then it still sometimes decides to only give me three or four results for what I wanted, then a second section full of crap that has nothing to do with it.

The only new thing I like is the typo/misspelling detection, and that's only because it's actually helpful and very easy and straightforward to bypass entirely.

I think they're trying to make it easier for people who don't know how to search properly (I'm continually amazed by what a rare skill that is) but considering the hoops I have to jump through to keep it from fucking up, I can imagine how worthless it must have become for someone who doesn't know the "just do what I goddamn told you to" tricks.

Re:Y'know (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 2 years ago | (#42270307)

First rule of software design: Never assume intelligence between keyboard and chair.

They do that already. (5, Funny)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#42268375)

A few years ago, I got my hands on a vegetable that I didn't know. And I was curious what it was, but how to search for something you don't know the name of? That's something that's really tricky.

So I grabbed the vegetable, put it next to my computer, opened google.com, and typed in "what vegetable is this?", for not having any better ideas.

Lo and behold, the search results came back, including some image results, and the first images were of a fennel - exactly the vegetable that I had on the table next to me. Perfect result, couldn't be better.

Re:They do that already. (3, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42269293)

That's a cool story, but it really has nothing to do with the article. It's basically a fortuitous coincidence that other people don't know what fennel looks like, and have blogged about it associated with the phrase "what vegetable is this?"

This looks like it's primarily interested with homonyms - words with different meanings, but the same arrangement of letters. Like, say, "Prince". Prince could refer either to the title, a particular holder of that title, a brandname, or a bunch of other things. Think wikipedia's disambiguation page. This technology is basically giving google the ability to determine which particular meaning a given instance of the word is talking about, given context.

For instance, if a page contained the phrase "Taj Mahal menu", Google would know internally that that page referred to the Taj Mahal restaurant because it has a sufficient knowledge of semantics and context to understand that monuments and musicians don't have menus, but restaurants do, and that the phrase "Taj Mahal" could refer to any of those things.

Re:They do that already. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#42269351)

That's a cool story, but it really has nothing to do with the article.

You deserve "insightful" points for that much more than I deserve to be modded "informative" because of course it's a coincidence. Yet it's one of those jaw-dropping, how-could-this-be kind of coincidences, that actually are pretty funny if they happen.

Re:They do that already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42270359)

That's a cool story, but it really has nothing to do with the article.

Yet it's one of those jaw-dropping, how-could-this-be kind of coincidences, that actually are pretty funny if they happen.

What do you mean coincidence? Read what it says: "I grabbed the vegetable, put it next to my computer..."

That's the essential step that most people forget when they are googling the name for unknown vegetables.

Re:They do that already. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42270787)

Last thanksgiving, at the dinner table, someone asked, "What is this vegetable?" It was fennel. Personally, I felt sad my 65+ year old relatives had no idea, while a 20+ year old recognized it. BTW, it seems the most popular image on Google's, "What is this vegetable?" is kohlrabi. In my personal experience in the deep south, the most checkout confusion is caused by buying rhubarb.

Re:They do that already. (1)

dkf (304284) | about 2 years ago | (#42270747)

This looks like it's primarily interested with homonyms - words with different meanings, but the same arrangement of letters. Like, say, "Prince". Prince could refer either to the title, a particular holder of that title, a brandname, or a bunch of other things. Think wikipedia's disambiguation page. This technology is basically giving google the ability to determine which particular meaning a given instance of the word is talking about, given context.

That's not a bad explanation, but the real magic is that it's ascribing a set of meanings to a word or phrase according to the nature of the clustering of web pages that mention it. Then, they can split up things like search results according to the potential significant meaning sets as one of the first things, without particular regard for just how popular the particular uses of the term are with respect to each other. In effect, it's automatically ascribing the meaning according to the potential context graphs, which is one of these fascinating Hard AI things. (I'm at least partially convinced that something similar drives human cognition and memory; you understand things by understanding how they relate to everything else.)

Re:They do that already. (1)

Khalid (31037) | about 2 years ago | (#42276697)

No, this is not a coincidence, it means that fennel is sufficiently rare in english speaking countries, that at least a certain number of people will try to figure out, what vegetable is it, exactly as the author did. So his situation was not unique. I have encountered many situations where many people where asking the same questions as I did and looking for it in the web.

Re:They do that already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42270749)

I'm amazed that there are people who don't know what a Fennel is.

or just know how to search (5, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 2 years ago | (#42268379)

'Now, when you encounter encounters the letters T-A-J-M-A-H-A-L on any Web page, the computers suddenly start understanding that this document is about the monument, and this one is about the musician, and this one is about a restaurant,' Singhal says. 'That 'aboutness' is foundational to building the search of tomorrow.'"

Or, type:
taj mahal
and then follow that with:

"monument" or
"musician" or
"restaurant"

Depending on what you're fucking looking for.

Re:or just know how to search (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 2 years ago | (#42268455)

'Now, when you encounter encounters the letters T-A-J-M-A-H-A-L on any Web page, the computers suddenly start understanding that this document is about the monument, and this one is about the musician, and this one is about a restaurant,' Singhal says. 'That 'aboutness' is foundational to building the search of tomorrow.'"

Or, type:

taj mahal

and then follow that with:

"monument" or

  "musician" or

"restaurant"

Depending on what you're fucking looking for.

Well, yes... I think you missed the point though. The knowledge graph doesn't interpret what you type, it interprets the pages that are searched for. So if you search for "taj mehal restaurant" it will know that a page that only contains "taj mahal" but never actually mentions "restaurant" is actually about restaurants version based on the rest of the page's context.

Re:or just know how to search (1)

Tim12s (209786) | about 2 years ago | (#42270049)

Yes, and the concept could be in any language and it should be language insensitive.

Re:or just know how to search (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 2 years ago | (#42272863)

Exactly, if I type "Taj Mahal Restaurant" I'm not particularly interested in a blogger telling me that he saw Taj Mahal last night at a restaurant.

Sometimes I feel that i need to make my search terms too specific but when I really want to find specific information I like the new way a whole lot more.

Re:or just know how to search (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42269801)

Whoosh!

With the knowledge graph, your extra search words will actually work. With it, you can tell Google which of those things you're looking for. Without the knowledge graph... well, if you're lucky enough that a given page in the match set actually has the extra keyword "monument", etc., on it, then that'll get promoted in the result set. But with the knowledge graph, as long as some connected page has enabled Google to discover which is meant, your extra search keyword will truly achieve what you want it to achieve.

(I have to point out: This is obvious. Clearly it does no good for Google to understand which of the Taj Mahals is which if you don't say which one you want. But if you do add that extra information, then the knowledge graph becomes very useful.)

Re:or just know how to search (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42402727)

Or maybe google will use this information to show meaningfully answers. It can sort and show the search results in a way that maximizes the information. Let say the graphs have detected that "taj mahal" can be related to 3 things: Monument, restaurant and musician. Then it uses that information to present in the first results the more ranked link for each concept:
1. The wikipedia entry of the monument taj mahal
2. A link to the taj mahal personal web were you can hear its music.
3. A review of the taj mahal restaurant
4. Other results.

This can help a lot, but yes... but it can also kill the really minor results like the taj mahal board game if its not included in the "graph knowledge"... I guess it is all about how you tune the algoritm and how much load you put in the results.

Will this fix the explicit-picture-search problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42268397)

I hope so, because I shouldn't have to be so explicit when I want something explicit.

didn't this used to exist years ago? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42268497)

I could've sworn that Google rolled something like this out, and then canned it (or at least removed it from the UI). If you searched for something ambiguous, like java, Google used to cluster the results, with one cluster being about Java-the-language, another about Java-the-island, and a third about java-the-coffee. So they clearly had some sort of ontology of terms and way of contextually attributing them.

Re:didn't this used to exist years ago? (2)

waderoush (1271548) | about 2 years ago | (#42268595)

Author here. Yes, from 2009-2011 or so they had a Google Labs project called Google Squared that presented results in tabular form (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Squared). I asked Shashi Thakur about this and he said they killed it because it wasn't deep enough to be useful. He told me there were actually pockets of structured, graph-like data popping up all over Google (in verticals like travel search and product search) but every team was doing it differently and it became clear the "the pockets were not coinciding." That's why they decided to take a top-down (or maybe you'd call it bottoms-up) approach and just buy Metaweb.

Re:didn't this used to exist years ago? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42268811)

That's pretty interesting too; somehow I missed that one, since I guess I wasn't paying attention to Google Labs. The one I was thinking of was mid-2000s, though. There's a blog post from 2006 about it here [dancohen.org] . I believe it was on by default, but did anything on a minority of terms, and at some point was removed again.

Re:didn't this used to exist years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42269605)

I don't think it's possible for Google to deliver any new innovation in search at this point. Even if someone in Google has a really great concept for improving it, there are just too many stakeholders within the company that need to be on board with it to make it successful. I'm not even talking about from a perspective of territorialism, just from a perspective of the number of people that need to understand a concept and how to build on it.

This seems to be a general affliction associated with software R&D. You see lots of really neat ideas, but hardly anything reaches end users that delivers on the initial promise.

Re:didn't this used to exist years ago? (1)

waderoush (1271548) | about 2 years ago | (#42276141)

Sorry but I think you're wrong about this. The search engineers at Google are allowed, even encouraged, to come up with innovations that might break other parts of Google, including its main revenue engine, AdWords. See pages 4-5 of the article.

skynet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42268715)

Clearly Google is working at teaching skynet to understand the work around it.

Taj Mahal (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#42268873)

When I first learned to program the Taj Mahal was a public urinal in Wellington, Zealand. That building has since been turned into a Welsh bar (sounds interesting, I've never been though, never went back at all) but I do note that one brave couple have opened the Taj Mahal restaurant not so far away.

But jokes aside, I've often wondered if first the telephone system, and then later the Internet once it was opened to the public and grew like a mad thing, were not the first artificial life forms. A few decades later I realise that life is in fact a kind of feedback loop and I have not the slightest idea of what awareness is or isn't. This Knowledge Freebase does sound more like an artificial lifeform that anything else I've known.

Oh, and by the bye because I know I'm going to get burned for this post, intelligence is neither life nor awareness, it is a process.

Maturana and Varela called it autopoiesis (1)

fritsd (924429) | about 2 years ago | (#42270557)

Some Chilean biologist/philosophers called that idea autopoiesis [wikipedia.org] .
I can't find the book anymore in my library :-( but the example I remember best was of the humble earth worm.

Earth worms eat the soil they live in and digest the humus in it (organic detritus). Soil with sharp bits of sand is of course not nice for the beast's stomach. But as everybody with a garden knows, if you have worms they make the soil looser and better aerated. They can also transport humus throughout the soil (from in front of the worm to pooed out of the worm). And maybe after several generations the soil becomes a bit more rounded too as thousands of worm-stomachs blunted it a bit. All these things have two side effects: 1. the plants find it easier to grow roots in non-sharp well-aerated soil (so they can dig deeper and pull up more minerals and when they die they leave more humus in the soil) and 2. the worms find it easier to live in soil where plants live and where worms have lived before.

It's a loop where you end up with soil very well suited to both plants and worms.

Conclusion: put a compost heap in your garden.

Problem with the "Knowledge Graph" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42269435)

The problem with the "knowledge graph" is that it builds knowledge from a large number of sources and then allows people to access it w/o attribution. in some ways, this is great. It makes access to knowledge even more convenient. In other ways, this is awful, because the deliverer of the information (Google) is getting paid (ads) but the creator of the information (webmaster) is not.

I think Google should create a program where revenue generated on pages w/ the knowledge graph answers included should be distributed in some degree to the sources of that information. They could use the google webmaster tools program to manage this in the same way that music played in the background of Youtube videos pass $$ on to the copyright holders.

Freebase project? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42269519)

Isn't that how Richard Pryor burnt himself?

Don't miss Taj Mahal (0)

NonFerrousBueller (1175131) | about 2 years ago | (#42269973)

I have nothing to add to this discussion other than if you get a chance to see Taj Mahal the musician, you should.

thats already in Bing (1)

Faisal Rehman (2424374) | about 2 years ago | (#42271829)

This feature is already in bing. Meaningful search for travel guide etc.

Dont diss correlations. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#42274421)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Correlation is not causation and most of it is mere coincidence and the entire statistical wizardry displayed by google is merely calculating correlation coefficients. But don't diss it or dismiss it. It gets to be amazingly powerful.

Once I was looking for the lyrics of a song in the language Malayalam (BTW Malayalam is longest one -word palindrome in English). I don't speak Malayalam. I typed in Google, my best impression of the opening line of that song. Transliterated into ASCII English keyboard. Instead of dismissing the strange sequence of characters as gibberish, Google came back with "Did you mean______ ________", exact song I was looking for. So taken to the level Google has taken it to, plain vanilla correlation coefficients become almost sentient!

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