Friday Grok: Google gets its mojo back with Knowledge Graph

Sure it’s evil, but it does some beautiful search

It seems like we are always dissing on Google. But not today. The search engine giant is about to roll out Knowledge Graph — a semantic Web solution — and the all the portents are good. Excellent in fact.

According to <i>Mashable</i>, the point of the exercise is that “a vast portion of Google Search results will work with you to intuit what you really meant by that search entry”.

“Type in an ambiguous query like “Kings” (which could mean royalty, a sports team or a now-cancelled TV show), and a new window will appear on the right side of your result literally asking you which entity you meant. Click on one of those options and your results will be filtered for that search entity.”

Underlying the switch, according to the story, Google is moving away from key word recognition to something much more interesting — "the identification of entities, nodes and relationships".

Google has a natural advantage in this space, something that Microsoft with Bing will find hard to counter. Mashable noted Google is able to tap into Google Local, Google Maps, Google Shipping, as well as Freebase which was bought two years ago. Google Books is part of the mix as is and the CIA World Fact Book (just don't go looking for WMDs).

<i>Techcrunch</i> said that Google has been working on semantic technology for years. “Today, the knowledge graph database currently holds information about 500 million people, places and things. More importantly, though, it also indexes over 3.5 billion defining attributes and connections between these items.”

For its part, Google said search is changing from "strings" to "things". Google fellow Ben Gomes told Techcrunch the goal is for the search engine to better understand what you are looking for. Not that Microsoft is without the means to respond. It acquired semantic search engine Powerset almost four years ago for $100 million, although Powerset's founder left the company in 2011, which does not augur well.

Thinking of buying FB stock? Read this first

While we have made numerous references to Facebook's IPO, the fact is that to do it justice requires the kind of research and insight that your humble columnist simply lacks. Fortunately the writers at PandoDaily have put together what they are describing as the definitive guide to the Facebook IPO. Kindle owners can buy it on Amazon. For a flavour you can get a sneak peak for free over at the <i>Huffington Post</i>. That ought to keep you busy over the weekend.

For the record, even as professional buyers express caution, and Facebook's corporate clients express growing scepticism, it looks like retail investors just don't care. They want their piece of Zuckerberg and they want it now. That's an unfortunate dichotomy suggesting that somebody somewhere is going to get pwned. Grok has no idea who.

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments. Follow him on Twitter @ag_birmingham.

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