My searches are about more than just the words I’m typing. There’s meaning, context, and the relationship between items to consider. But it takes a repository like Wikipedia to understand that. However, with Google’s latest update to search results pages, the search giant is taking another step toward not only showing me results, but understanding those results. Search is becoming more human, and, as Google puts it, the Knowledge Graph is about “things, not strings.”
Here’s where it gets good. The recent launch of Google’s Knowledge Graph isn’t just good news for searchers. Businesses can take the information that Google offers in the Knowledge Graph and use it to inform content planning and even advertising campaigns.
Take a search for “Dallas” as an example. If I type “Dallas” into Google, the information I really want might be the population of the Texas city. On the other hand, I could be after the name of the actor who played the character Bobby Ewing on the TV drama. (I’ll admit, Patrick Duffy isn’t always top of mind.) Before the Knowledge Graph, Google didn’t know the difference between these two pieces of information, and it didn’t care. If I wanted to get really specific in my search results, I had to type “Dallas population,” maybe with quotes, maybe without. Or I had to type “Bobby Ewing Dallas actor” or something similar.
On the new results page, Google understands that I’m not just looking for information about the word “Dallas.” I’m probably looking for something deeper. Using information from Google Maps, Wikipedia, and other sources, the Knowledge Graph pulls a snapshot of information about what I’m most likely looking for. In this case, it’s a map of Dallas and stats like elevation, weather, and population. With billions of searches per day, Google can predict what information I’m probably seeking based on the queries of everyone who searched before me. And just in case I’m looking for Bobby Ewing, the Knowledge Graph also suggests that as an option so I can filter my search results just to the TV show.
Believe it or not, this has value for businesses, not just trivia junkies. If I’m managing social media for my veterinary practice, I want my blogs and tweets to be relevant. I want to provide information that people are looking for. Before I write a blog about Dalmatians, a quick Google search will check the Knowledge Graph and tell me what people most want to know. Are Dalmatians hypoallergenic? How long do they live? How big do they get? Now I have three content topics based on what my audience actually wants to know, not on what I think they want to know.
But sure, it’s good for trivia too.