SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —Google has introduced a new tool, designed to make its search engine smarter.
The new feature draws from a Google-built database of more than 500 million people, places and commonly requested things to provide a summary of vital information alongside the main search results.
Google Inc. spent the past two years poring through online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the CIA Factbook and other sources to expand a database of 12 million items that it picked up as part of its 2010 acquisition of Metaweb.
The information warehouse, which Google calls a “Knowledge Graph,” is an attempt by the Internet's dominant search engine to provide answers as quickly and concisely as possible so users don't have to sift through a hodgepodge of Web links displayed on the main results page.
The nuggets of information will appear in boxes to the right of the main search results. Google will gradually roll out the feature before extending it to a wider audience.
Google will gradually roll out the feature. The unveiling comes a week after the second-largest search engine, Microsoft Corp.'s Bing, announced an overhaul that will highlight more information mined from Facebook — insights that typically don't show up in Google's results.
The Knowledge Graph will work in different ways.
If a person enters a search request, such as “kings,” that can be interpreted in several ways, Google will now display a box on the right side of the page listing several other options, such as the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Sacramento Kings basketball team and the Kings TV show. Clicking on any of these choices will deliver results exclusively devoted to that topic.
Google is hailing the Knowledge Graph as an important step in Internet search's evolution: making the difficult transition from merely presenting a list of Web links to delivering the kinds of responses that people expect when they pose a question to an expert.