When you carry out a Google search on a company or brand you might have started to wonder – what is this new right-hand side bar that is appearing on Google? Welcome to Google’s Knowledge Graph.
The Google Knowledge Graph was rolled into the public domain in 2012 and has changed the way we approach our online searches. The preamble suggests that the search engine’s goal is to allow users to pilot their intentions without the need to trawl through unrelated and irrelevant pages trying to accumulate information manually.
Google’s gift to its users is a faster, directed and more in depth database. We live in an age where time is a cherished commodity; convenience, relevance and efficiency is the name of the game when there are 60 million pages at your finger tips. But when technology runs semantic searches it is conceivable that it will collect the right information, inaccurate information and information you wished had been tucked away in the far corner of digital space.
How does it all work?
When you are creating an engaging, personalised and interactive database you need the engine to work and think fast. The word Casablanca (depending on how you take it) designates a capital or “of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”
Google accumulates the crawled pages to create an index, in order to navigate intentions. As a result when we begin searching, algorithms pin down suitable pages by going through the index. As a Google addict, this is a step in the right direction because we don’t always mean what we type and interpretations can be even more diverse. Therefore Google crawls the public web and narrows the search to what it thinks the user means.
The most distinctive feature is the Knowledge Graph that appears on the right hand side.
The feature collects and displays a bite-sized summary, easy and efficient for even for the most amateur online navigator to understand. Additionally, included in the graph will be information that may not directly answer your intentions but may spark an interest; you could get the answer to your next question before you’ve asked it.
In short, Google says the Knowledge Graph “understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings.”
What information does it publish
Google Knowledge covers a wide range of information, but some of the basic ones you would expect to find are:
- Bite-sized descriptions and summaries
- Related images to aid visualizing your results
- Related searches to help explore similar topics
If you’re a company expect to the names of your CEO and founder, your latest results and your office address. If you’re an individual it’s your career highlights, spouses, birth date and other family members.
Its lasting effect
Much like its ancestor, the Internet, the Knowledge Graph will change how we learn, collect and store information. But as all good things seem to have, the graph may have a downside.
- With its ability to collect information and present what it thinks we mean or want, the cognitive work of laboriously identifying direct information may take a back seat. Actually going through pages to read works published online may be a less frequent task. Bite-sized information coupled with a quick stop and go Knowledge Graph have the effect of infantising complex information.
- This feature also has the propensity to morph Google into a source of content, rather than a search engine for sources.
- Business and individuals will have to learn how to monitor and report wrong or unwarranted information incase there is an insertion of unwanted and old information.
- If you spot inaccurate information and report it there is no fix-time indication.
What can you do if your Knowledge Graph is inaccurate?
When Google starts becoming a trusted direct source of information it becomes even more central that the information must be correct or not outdated. Individual and business profiles may come to depend on this Knowledge Graph as their first point of contact for a basic searcher.
If you suspect inaccurate information the process to report issues is to click on the “Feedback / More info”link on the bottom right of the knowledge graph. It will bring up “Wrong?” on each of the listed information. You can then individually click “Wrong” on each link and it will send that data to someone at Google.
Be warned, the time expectancy for the change can take weeks or months – depending on your commitment to pressing for change.
Emmanuel Apraku is a legal assistant at Himsworths Legal
This post originally appeared on the Himsworths Legal Blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks
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