I had come across an interesting comparison some time back when I read that the supposedly benign Google had an intelligence level of a baboon. Depending on how you view a glass containing a certain amount of water, you could say that this is pretty cool or frightening. Google Search converted us, Internet users, into Information junkies who had an easy access to whatever they wanted to search in the whole wide world. The fact that Google’s primate intelligence was not really enough sometimes because search keywords were not able to zero in on the right word, place or context was a little troubling but we all accepted that this was the best technology could offer. That is changing from now on!
Google today announced the next biggest thing in Search and it is called the Knowledge Graph. The knowledge graph is ambitious project which aims at eliminating the errors in context based results and ultimately hold a total repository of knowledge, just like what Wikipedia is doing. They had a pretty detailed blog post about it on their official blog. This is how it explains what the Knowledge Graph is all about.
“Take a query like [taj mahal]. For more than four decades, search has essentially been about matching keywords to queries. To a search engine the words [taj mahal] have been just that—two words.
But we all know that [taj mahal] has a much richer meaning. You might think of one of the world’s most beautiful monuments, or a Grammy Award-winning musician, or possibly even a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Or, depending on when you last ate, the nearest Indian restaurant. It’s why we’ve been working on an intelligent model—in geek-speak, a “graph”—that understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings.”
The graph currently has more than 500 million objects and 3.5 billion facts and understands the interconnected complex relationships between these objects. The graph improves search in 3 major ways.
1. Human language is far from perfect in terms of universality and consistency in rules. English is a good standard to adhere to but it does have its own few flaws due to quirky grammar rules and other colloquial or contextual problems. The infusion of intelligence in the search will make it better at deciding exactly what you were looking for.
2. The graph is located on the right side of your screen and will give you quick and relevant summaries of a keyword. Say, if you are searching for Einstein, it will pick up Einstein’s details like birth, death, achievements along with related people. This is excellent because now you can dig up information for your research project easily and find related terms, people and activities that are related to your keyword.
3. Finally, the graph might help you make interesting discoveries about people and topics because of the way it pulls data from various sources and summarises it nicely. This Search example by Google shows where Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons got the idea for his characters.
The graph is not just for desktop web users. Google has tailored it to run on mobile devices too. Check this image out.
The feature is currently being rolled out to Android OS 2.2+ and iOS4+ users. (I have yet to see it!)
So how revolutionary is this? Some are saying that it got 1000x smarter! Well, it is pretty awesome not just because of the search associations and results it throws but because of the fact that an artificial virtual engine has become smart enough to understand human context however primitive it maybe at this point. This is the first step towards artificial intelligence making the world easier for everyone who wants to explore it.
Intelligent machines, a web of things and augmented reality! These are the next biggest things to look out for from here on. I just hope we don’t end up in a Skynet like scenario however unlikely that may sound!