INTERNET SEARCH FIRM Google has overhauled its search engine with Knowledge Graph to provide direct answers in search results.
Google said in a blog post today that the change, which will be rolled out first in the US, is a 'more human' search function offering answers without users having to be sent elsewhere.
The new feature adds boxes full of Wikipedia-like information to the search results page, covering a range of subjects relating to the search term from public sources including Freebase, the CIA World Factbook and, not forgetting everyone's favourite encyclopaedia, Wikipedia.
Google's SVP of engineering, Amit Singhal explained in the post that until now the search engine had been only able to match keywords.
He explained that Google's Knowledge Graph means that the search engine understands the different contextual meanings in words, and users can narrow their search results to just the one they mean.
"Language can be ambiguous-do you mean Taj Mahal the monument, or Taj Mahal the musician?...[In Knowledge Graph we can] click on one of the links to see that particular slice of results," he said.
"This is one way [it] makes Google Search more intelligent - your results are more relevant because we understand these entities, and the nuances in their meaning, the way you do."
Google said that Knowledge Graph has been programmed to 'go deeper and broader', using around 3.5 billion different attributes to organise results to answer the next question users might have before you've asked it, because "the facts [shown] are informed by what other people have searched for".
Singhal explained, "For example, some of the most serendipitous discoveries I've made using the Knowledge Graph are through the magical 'people also search for' feature. One of my favorite books is The White Tiger, the debut novel by Aravind Adiga, which won the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Using the Knowledge Graph, I discovered three other books that had won the same prize and one that won the Pulitzer."
Google has already begun to gradually roll out Knowledge Graph across the US, and will eventually make it available across the world. It said the search feature will also be available on smartphones and tablets, but did not reveal a specific launch date. µ
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