Beyond links – ‘things not strings’
Google and Bing are taking different approaches to ‘humanising’ their search results to actually answer questions, rather than just responding with a page of links.
Both are making in-roads into this, Google with its ‘knowledge graph’ and Microsoft with ‘Snapshot service’.
Google’s ‘knowledge graph’ attempts to join together all the information they have based on people’s search terms – from the term itself, the link results, the location of the search, the pages that most often visited to answer the query etc, to create some meaningful relationship between them.
The idea is that it will then be able to provide answers, rather than just links. For example, if you Google ‘Where is Komedia Brighton’, it should in theory return the address for you, rather than a list of web pages that contain the location, cutting down your search time.
Likewise, if you Googled ‘history of St Paul’s Cathedral’ it should serve up some facts – when it was built etc.
Bing’s approach differs slightly in that it will try to provide extra information like search results along with results.
Restaurants will include links to photos, review and other ‘social’ information – the idea being that Bing wants to help people perform ‘real world’ actions as quickly as possible.
What about us humans?
It will be interesting to whether each engine’s approach will take it into a different area of specialisation or whether over time, both will converge and provide the same type of information.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Do we need or want our search engines to become more ‘human’ in their ability to respond to search queries? Or is it just an inevitable extension of the ever more complex social web?
Are services like Quora – relying on people and their expertise – already doing the job much better than an algorythmn could ever do? Or will the likes of Google and Bing simply incorporate information found in Wikis and Quora into their knowledge bases?
In the future, will these services will still be necessary or will Google and Microsoft incorporate them into their ever-more powerful engines?
Introducing Google Knowledge Graph: things not strings
Google’s new brain could have a big impact
Bing – do more with Snapshot
Bing apes Google graph with Encyclopaedia added to search results