Not many people have heard or are even aware of the Google knowledge graph. At this point I have to eat that humble pie and admit that until a few weeks ago, I had no single idea what the knowledge graph was all about. You know how sometimes you just click on random links and you end up in a strange place and you go, ‘wow!’ that’s new? The amazing thing about the Google knowledge graph is that it has being there all along, right under our collective ignorant noses. And we’ve being using it too.
These days when Google displays your search result for you, at the top of the page is a very prominent box with a simple short answer to your query in the Google search box. The aim of that short, straight-to-the-point answer is simply to stop you wasting your time clicking other sites if you find it good enough for you. Try googling ‘capital of Brazil’ and you’ll see what I mean. You can try it with anything; The Google knowledge graph would display a box at the top of the search page giving you a short information about your query.
Apparently, the knowledge graph has being around since 2012 when it was launched by Google. To get the answers to the queries on Google search, knowledge graph utilizes several resources and tools, one of which is called freebase. Freebase was was acquired by Google in 2010. Freebase defines itself as a community of people moderating and forming a continuous data base of everything you can think of under the sun. The operative word there is ‘everything.’ Imagine the resources of a behemoth like Google being the driver behind a group of people solely interested in compiling information about everything. And putting it together so that a program like the knowledge graph can use.
For now, the knowledge graph is helping people get relevant information very fast. In fact, a good place where the knowledge graph is applied efficiently is in the health-related Google search queries that was revamped recently.
To be sure, when Google acquired firms like freebase, it did not have a project like the knowledge graph in the works. The implication is this, nobody knows how resources like freebase would finally evolve into. That is just a thought.
But for some websites that need Google searches to generate traffic to their websites, the knowledge graph is a clear and immediate danger. If everybody got the information they needed from the knowledge graph at the top of the search page, what then is the point of scrolling down the page to click on other sites? Is the knowledge graph then going to make all those tedious (and to be fair, confusing) SEO tools littering the Internet redundant? If nobody cares about search engine optimization in the future, isn’t that just a short stop before nobody bothers about page ranking on Google search too?
This is not like some doomsday prediction. Actually figures show that for about a year after the launch of the knowledge graph, there was a marked drop in the number of Wikipedia page views. If it can happen to Wikipedia, imagine how susceptible smaller websites will be. This is not a spurious claim because last year, there was an antitrust complaint to the European Commission about this issue. Basically, the complaint States that Google is using its dominant position in the search engine niche to promote its own materials to the detriment of others.
The complaint was made by Wikipedia, and it specifically mentioned the knowledge graph. For now, the the knowledge graph is still in its infancy. It is really scary what it might turn out to be at maturity. Is it going to be ‘Google Next’ or ‘Google reloaded’ or ‘Google 2.0’ or whatever the geeks at Googleplex decide to Christian this lean, fast and precise new search engine?