Tuesday, 22nd May 2012
While media attention has focussed on Facebook’s IPO, the major search engines have quietly launched new products, which could give Facebook a run for its money. Google’s Knowledge Graph, introduced on Google’s blog, is being hailed as a significant step towards the semantic web.
While media attention has focussed on Facebook’s IPO, the major search engines have quietly launched new products, which could give Facebook a run for its money.
Google’s Knowledge Graph, introduced on Google’s blog, is being hailed as a significant step towards the semantic web or web 3.0 and is getting online industry pundits quite excited. Essentially, the search engine is moving away from keyword recognition towards serendipitous searching and more comprehensive search results. Identifying the relationships between entities will produce results that include topic summaries, images and related items and are aimed at encouraging users to search deeper into topics.
As Mashable reports, Knowledge Graph is using several Google sources such as Google Maps, Google Local and Google Shopping to populate its “world of things”, as Google puts it. Other sources include Freebase, whose owner Metaweb, a leader in semantic web technology Google acquired two years ago and Wikipedia. Researchers concerned about the use of Wikipedia to source information will be reassured by the error reporting system built into Knowledge Graph – users will be able to report any misinformation they come across.
Knowledge Graph will initially be available in the US across all Google platforms and will be rolled out globally anon. As Mashable commented, “Google just got 1,000 smarter”. No doubt we will have fun experimenting with it.
Technology rival Microsoft meanwhile has launched a social network product that looks set to compete with Google+. Still in an experimental phase Microsoft So.cl is meant to combine social networking and search and is aimed at students who may want to share web pages and videos of interest. As described by Business Insider So.cl looks like it has taken aspects of social search from various well-established social media sites. It is for example possible to follow people just as you can via Twitter or highlight categories of interest such as via Pinterest. There is currently some scepticism as to whether there is room for a product which, on the face of it, does not appear to differentiate itself enough from existing rivals, however targeting the student market initially is a wise move. This is after all how Facebook started.
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