Google began rolling out a feature that gives searchers in the United States the potential to access more relevant and in-depth responses to answers without leaving the page. The concept is built on something the company calls "knowledge graph," which ties together words to create relationships.
There are a multitude of sources behind this data. The search results page displays a variety of content related to keyword queries, bringing up a list of facts, photos, and landmarks, as well as quick links to other popular uses for the search term. Think of a Web beneath the user interface layer of the Internet that ties together all information across the Web.
Rob Garner, vice president of strategy at agency iCrossing, said Google's knowledge graph takes another step in the company's long transition to develop an artificial intelligence engine -- semantic search. "It's something Google's doing in parallel to Schema.org in terms of relating object, places and people," he said. "Looking at the schema for a person you can actually define the relationship with other people using schema vocabulary."
For example, someone looking for information on Marie Curie will see her birth and death dates, but also details on her education and scientific discoveries. The search engine understands much more about Frank Lloyd Wright than the word connecting the characters. It understands that Wright was an architect who was born June 8, 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin, and died on April 9, 1959, in Phoenix. It knows that his projects included Robie House and Taliesin West.
The change represents an effort by search engines to move away from text-based links in search results and serve up knowledge in fewer clicks. Last week, Microsoft rolled out a revamped version of Bing that will initiate new ad formats.
Garner said it's not clear what the advertising impact will be. "It will be interesting to see if there's a connection to better networking information around companies and product offerings, but they do that pretty well in standard Web results," he said.