This is a CyberEye broadcast updating you on the latest and greatest developments in
the world of science and technology. One of Google’s stated goals is to index
all of the world’s information, which includes things like academic research of global significance,
as well as blog posts about ‘cat breading’. But in such a wealth of information it is
important to isolate what is relevant to a specific inquiry. So now, this index is getting
some context, with billions of attributes and connections linking millions of individual
nouns. This type of context-informed dataset is frequently known as the semantic web, but
Google is avoiding that term and calling it Knowledge Graph.
Human conversation is built on context, explained Jack Menzel, product management director of
search at Google. But for a computer, it doesn’t exist. Google’s new search algorithm seeks
to disambiguate your results, much like a person would in a conversation, said Menzel.
“Understanding is part of being a human. For computers, it would be like if we suddenly
pick a language that neither of us can speak. It’s just a collection of sounds,” he
said. “What search engines have lacked so far, until today, was the notion that those
words refer to a thing. If we maintain a representation of a thing, we can use that to better understand
both what you are asking for and what the web itself is talking about.”
Typing in a search term, and instead of listing what you might be interested in, the search
will provide you a set of options. Menzel uses “Andromeda” as an example. You could
choose between the galaxy, the Greek myth, the Swedish metal band, and so on.
To do this, Google set about indexing universal definitions, using every public database from
Wikipedia to the CIA World Factbook to Google’s own products. The result is a new set of 500
million people, places and things, with 3.5 billion connections among them. Along with
allowing you to narrow your context, search results now contain little connections and
suggestions to augment an initial search term. Google will also make some determinations
based on your search profile and especially your location. He used an example of place
near Google’s Mountain View, California offices — when he searches “Great Bear,”
Google brings up a northern California recreation area and a coffee shop in Santa Cruz. In your
location, it will probably bring up something else. But personalization is still incomplete,
he said. The ultimate goal is a smarter search that
thinks like a person would, taking your individuality and context into account. It’s not just
about knowing that a thing is a thing, Menzel said — “it’s what’s important about
that thing, what’s relatable about that thing, and the connections about that thing.”
Update complete.

1 Comment

  1. Livent Liang

    December 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Was that sound auto-generated?

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