Google’s Knowledge graph and the new UI

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You may have noticed that the Google search results page looks a bit different now-a-days. Google is now in the process of rolling out a new version of search results pages for desktop web browsers. Google says that it has redesigned the results page for two reasons. The first is to create a simpler design that’s consistent across phones, tablets and desktop web browsers. But more importantly, it is to make room for Google’s Knowledge-graph that the company launched in May 2012.

Having indexed the world’s information on the web for a couple of decades, Google took the next evolutionary step to leverage the data at its disposal to create what has been described as the Knowledge graph – A graph drawn from Google's new database of 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects. With this announcement Google moved a step closer to its goal of becoming the “Knowledge engine” rather than a “Search engine”.  Using the links that exist between the entities such as landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more, Google populates your search results along with a box on the right hand side which has information that’s specifically relevant to the search term.

Search for a "Steven Spielberg", for instance, and you’ll see an info box on the right with the ace directors’s birth date, pictures, relationships, biographical information, filmography and related people. Search for a "San Francisco" , and you’ll get details about the city, a map view, upcoming events near the city, current weather and related landmarks. The information comes from Wikipedia and other public sources

Jack Menzel, Product Management Director of Search at Google says that this is not related to the “Semantic web” concept. This has more to do with the knowledge and relationships established by what people search for on Google and is by no means exhaustive.
The purpose of the Knowledge Graph according to Google is to help users:
1) Find the right thing – Ambiguous terms are listed for user in the “See results about” section, 
2) Get the best summary - Key facts about the search term are displayed
3) Go deeper and broader to discover more about the search – A list of popular searches are listed in the “People also searched for” section.

At the moment, a lot of searches don’t have answers from Knowledge Graph or other sources. In such cases all one gets instead is a conspicuously large amount of white space on the right side of the screen. Though Knowledge Graph may not provide too many answers now, Google, it seems, is leaving plenty of room for it to do so in the future.

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