An In-Depth Look at Google’s New Knowledge Graph

Chris Hoffman 28-05-2012

google knowledge graphGoogle is the most popular website in the world, so when Google introduces a new feature, it’s big news. Google’s new knowledge graph is big news even for Google. It marks the beginning of Google’s transformation from a search engine that provides a page of links to a knowledge engine that knows about pieces of data and their relation to each other.


The knowledge graph is Google’s attempt at semantic search What Semantic Markup Is & How It Will Change The Internet Forever [Technology Explained] Read More . In its initial form, it’s a new sidebar that appears when Google knows about what you’re searching for. Expect this sidebar to start appearing a lot more often as Google learns about new things.

If the knowledge graph hasn’t rolled out to your country yet, you can visit the US version of Google and use it from there.

The Basics

To understand the idea behind Google’s knowledge graph, check out their video. In a nutshell, the knowledge graph is an effort by Google to understand things about objects and pieces of data, and how they’re related. Before, you might search for Albert Einstein and Google would present the most relevant links on the subject. Now, Google knows that Albert Einstein is a person and can present information about him from a variety of sources.

Of course, there are other types of search queries How To Use Google As A Calculator Read More that Google’s been able to answer in the search results for years. But the knowledge graph is a big step forward.

Understanding Search Queries

The knowledge graph can help you refine the meaning of a query. Some words mean many things, and Google can now help you narrow down the interpretation you’re looking for.


For example, the word “Onion” can refer to several things. You may be looking for the website of The Onion Faux News: 10 Best Websites for Fake News & Satire Read More , information about Tor .onion websites How to Find Active .Onion Dark Web Sites (And Why You Might Want To) The Dark Web, in part, consists of .onion sites, hosted on the Tor network. How do you find them and where to go? Follow me... Read More , or information about edible onions. If you just want results about the food, you can click the “Onion” link in the sidebar. In the future, the knowledge graph will offer information about other interpretations of “Onion.”

google knowledge graph

The results for “Kings” are a great example of this in action. You can select from one of the two sports teams or the TV show with this name.

knowledge graph


The Sidebar

Search for something the knowledge graph knows about – for example, the name of a famous person – and you’ll see detailed information at the right side of the search results page. Much of the information here is taken from Wikipedia 5 Apps for Getting More out of Wikipedia Tools for getting more out of Wikipedia, from alternative interfaces to games that force you to explore articles and think creatively. Read More .

The sidebar isn’t just a disconnected block of text – it’s a starting point for extensive research. You can click any of the links here to view more information about a location, person, or book. You can keep clicking, too – once the knowledge graph has been expanded, it’ll be easy to click from page to page, learning new things. Before you know it, it’ll be four hours later – just like clicking through Wikipedia.

knowledge graph

Finding Related Things

The “People also search for” box allows you to quickly find related things – whether they’re books, people, locations, or anything else Google knows about. This feature taps into Google’s extensive knowledge about what people search for 5 Things I've Learned About Internet Behavior Through My SEO Work I have a criteria of about 8 to 10 items that I personally look for when I do SEO analysis, but of course one of the most important is search volume. Having monitored the search... Read More .


knowledge graph

Points Of Interest

Traveling somewhere The 10 Best Free International Travel Guide Websites Read More ? Search for your destination and you’ll see a map and information about the location, along with points of interest you might want to visit. It shows you the local time, too.

google knowledge

Select a point of interest and you’ll see more information about it, including its address on a map How Does Google Maps Work? Google Maps is used by millions of people every day and you might be one of them, but how does it actually work and how does Google maintain its accuracy so well? Read More . You can click the Directions link to quickly get directions 3 Features of Google Driving Directions You Probably Never Knew Read More there, or keep looking for related attractions using the “People also search for” section.


google knowledge

Viewing Events

For some locations, Google even knows about scheduled events. You can see upcoming events and click the links to see more information – or, perhaps, buy tickets The 6 Best Ticket Sites to Get Event, Concert, and Sports Tickets Here are some of the best ticket sites that are better than Ticketmaster if you want to get awesome seats at popular and sold out events. Read More .

google knowledge

Reporting Problems

The knowledge engine won’t be perfect, especially given that so much of its information comes from Wikipedia. If you see a problem with the results, you can click the “Report a problem” link at the bottom of the sidebar to tell Google exactly what’s wrong.

google knowledge graph

The Future

As the video says, the new side panel on Google is “one of the first features” related to the knowledge graph. Expect Google to roll out more features that take advantage of the knowledge graph, fill the knowledge graph’s holes, and generally get smarter over time. This information will likely be put to use to create Google’s Siri rival.

With Bing adding its own sidebar – one for Facebook integration – it’s interesting to see the two search engines diverging a bit. Of course, Bing has had a focus on being a “decision engine” for years, while Google recently introduced their own social-networking features, known as Search Plus Your World How To Turn Off Google's Personal Search Results Has your entire life become a frustrating chore since last week, when Google added "Personal Search"? Have you been taking your rage out on innocent squirrels and kittens, most of whom had nothing to do... Read More .

What do you think of Google’s new knowledge graph? Will you be coming back to Google from an alternative search engine Get A Better Search Experience With Duck Duck Go It seems that there are a couple of services and Linux distributions (such as Linux Mint) that are switching over to Duck Duck Go as their default search engine. So why the heck are they... Read More , are you too concerned about privacy Google Set To Merge All Their Services Under One Massive Privacy Policy [News] In a short while, Google will be making some huge changes to their privacy policy and terms of service. Basically, they will be placing all of their services under one giant privacy policy. They are... Read More , or did you never leave Google at all?

Related topics: Google, Google Search.

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  1. Shehan Nirmal
    June 1, 2012 at 3:59 am


  2. Scutterman
    May 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Just so you know, the link to google in the third paragraph is trying to link within MUO, it needs the protocol on the beginning.

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks a lot for alerting us to that! We've fixed it.

  3. Sachin Kanchan
    May 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    when can we expect knowledge graph to be released in asia and south east countries

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 30, 2012 at 1:03 am

      As far as I know, Google hasn't announced this yet. It isn't even available in Canada yet, sadly.

      Still, you can access the US Google site and use it from anywhere.