Google Changes Search Again With Knowledge Graph
Just in case you missed it, a few days ago, Google announced a new feature in search which they’re calling Knowledge Graph. This is a move towards semantic or more human-based search, as opposed to a keyword-based one.
It enables you to directly search for things, places or people on Google’s results page. Place in your query and Google will draw upon its enormous wealth of collected data to give you the best possible answers.
You can search for celebrities, landmarks, cities, sports teams, historical figures… somewhere in the background, millions of school and university students are jumping for joy. This will make their next research paper much easier.
What is Google really doing here?
Besides offering up a “cool” way to answer your next question or research project, is Google simply trying to compete with its rivals like Apple’s Siri and sites like Wikipedia or even Yahoo Answers?
In a broader sense, this makes Google more the destination, rather than a means to the destination. This can mean a big difference to how everyone uses Google in the future.
It is no longer about keywords or links, or even finding the right website to answer your question, Google will supply it immediately on their site. Knowledge Graph could mean less traffic for every website on the web, except for Google.
I also find it very curious that Google may be targeting the only metric where Facebook is leading – time spent on site – if you judge this by Alexa numbers. People stay on Facebook about twice as long as they stay on Google.
This is only natural given that Google is mainly a search engine which you use to find other sites on the web. By its very nature, a search engine should be a temporary stop-over, on your journey to finding what you’re looking for.
Not if your destination is now Google and the Knowledge Graph where you can quickly find all your answers. If Google can keep visitors on their site and satisfy those visitors – it simply means the web has just gotten a lot smaller.
Of course, other lesser known search engines have been providing this kind of semantic search for years… comes to mind.
The Bigger Picture
Knowledge Graph could also have a big impact on SEO and the whole notion of using keywords/links to find what we’re looking for on the web. It could definitely mean SEO and links are much less important, if Google can supply the answer via its own site.
Will this Knowledge Graph be applied to “money paying” keywords or will it mostly have to do with more general, academic or non-commercial searches? How will Google use it with AdWords? Can it be integrated with Google’s “bread and butter” advertising program?
An even bigger picture would probably include the whole direction of the web. Will it be a social based system like Facebook, especially if Facebook can come up with its own search engine? Or will Google further invade the social scene by integrating Google+, YouTube, Google Drive… by creating one super-site where users spend the majority of their time on the web.
It is this battle for “where” these web users are “based” for the majority of their web day – the real “portal” to the whole web, that’s the bigger picture here.
Facebook, Google, Twitter… the winner of this battle will probably control the web of the future.