We’re in the early phases of moving from being an information engine to becoming a knowledge engine. – Johanna Wright, Google Product Management Director

Google is stepping up its knowledge graph and semantic search program, a feature which will begin showing up more and more in your Google search results.

Here’s a video released today that previews where Google is going with this program:

The Google Knowledge Graph is about search algorithm gaining a better understanding of what we mean when we search for something. For example, if you search for “Eiffel Tower,” the search engine should understand that this is an “object” which is a “building” or “man-made structure.” Then it would be able to make connections between these various real-world objects that will help it get to what we are really searching for.

google knowledge graph

A knowledge graph of "objects" connected to Shakespeare

In addition, Google will watch what others searching for the same information as you found useful, and add that to the knowledge graph.

How will this look in actual search results? Say you want to learn about “Renaissance painters,” but the only one you know is “Leonardo da Vinci.” You enter his name in Google, and in the side panel you get not only the basic facts about da Vinci, but also other painters that were searched for by people interested in da Vinci.

da Vinci Google Knowledge Graph Search


In the video above, you can see how clicking on any of the individual links or images in the knowledge sidebar causes a cascade of new, related results to appear.

I think this project has several ramifications:

  • Google will become the go-to source for quick knowledge on any topic, eating away Wikipedia’s lunch.
  • The knowledge graph, over time, will eliminate much of the scamming problem experienced by Wikipedia, as it relies on watching and learning from large amounts of user behavior, rather than individual human editors.
  • People will spend more time on Google as it becomes more fun and a richer experience to explore there.
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