Knowledge Graph

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This article is about Google's specific implementation of knowledge graph technology. For knowledge engine technology in general, see Knowledge engine.
Knowledge Graph data about Thomas Jefferson displayed on Google Web Search, as of January 2015.

The Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google to enhance its search engine's search results with semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources. Knowledge Graph display was added to Google's search engine in 2012, starting in the United States, having been announced on May 16, 2012.[1] It provides structured and detailed information about the topic in addition to a list of links to other sites. The goal is that users would be able to use this information to resolve their query without having to navigate to other sites and assemble the information themselves.[2] The short summary provided in the knowledge graph is often used as a spoken answer in Google Now searches.[3]

According to some news websites, the implementation of Google's Knowledge Graph has played a role in the page view decline of various language versions of Wikipedia.[4][5][6][7] As of the end of 2016, knowledge graph holds over 70 billion facts.[8]


According to Google, the information in the Knowledge Graph is derived from many sources, including the CIA World Factbook, Wikidata, and Wikipedia.[1] The feature is similar in intent to answer engines such as Wolfram Alpha and efforts such as Linked Data and DBpedia. As of 2012, its semantic network contained over 570 million objects and more than 18 billion facts about and relationships between different objects that are used to understand the meaning of the keywords entered for the search.[9][10]

On December 4, 2012, the Knowledge Graph was introduced in seven more languages: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, and Italian.[11][12] During the Google I/O conference in May 2013, Google's Amit Singhal presented on the future of search, explaining that a search engine's three primary functions will need to evolve and that search will need to: 1. Answer, 2. Converse, and 3. Anticipate.[13] As part of his keynote talk Singhal asked: "A computer you can talk to? And it will answer everything you ask it?"[14]

In August 2014, Google announced a new initiative, the Knowledge Vault, which derives much of its data from the Knowledge Graph and the sources thereof, as well as harvesting its own data, ranking its reliability and compiling all results into a database of over 1.6 billion facts collected by machine learning algorithms. On December 16, 2014, the Freebase and Knowledge Graph team at Google announced that Freebase would shut-down in late 2015 and that they would help to transfer all of its data over to Wikidata.[15] In October 2016 Google announced that the Knowledge Graph now holds 70 billion facts.[8]


Other companies' knowledge graphs:

  • Microsoft Bing's Satori Knowledge Base, revealed to the public in mid-2013[16] (further details were not released)
  • Yandex's Object Answer, released in 2015[citation needed]
  • Yahoo! and Baidu also have such technologies.[17][18]
  • LinkedIn's Knowledge Graph, revealed to the public in Oct 2016.[19] It is a large knowledge base built upon LinkedIn "entities" such as 450M members, 190M historical jobs, 9M companies, 35K skills, 24K titles, 28K schools, 1.5K fields of study, 600+ degrees, 500+ certificates, 200+ countries, among other entities. It is a dynamic graph updated in real time upon member profile changes and when new entities emerge.

Knowledge panels

According to Google, information in the knowledge graph powers a "knowledge panel", which is a box containing information, and the box is presented at the top of search results.[20] In May 2016, The Washington Post reported that "knowledge panels and other sorts of 'rich answers' have mushroomed across Google, appearing atop the results on roughly one-third of its 100 billion monthly searches".

Dario Taraborelli of the Wikimedia Foundation says that Google's omission of sources in its knowledge panels is designed so that the knowledge panel will seem more authoritative. The Post reports that Google's knowledge panels are "frequently unattributed", such as a knowledge panel on the age of actress Betty White which is "as unsourced and absolute as if handed down by God".[21] Google will frequently scrape information from websites with varying degrees of success, but the increased use of Schema markup means that information on websites can be more intelligently understood and utilized in the Knowledge Graph.

In Google Assistant search results (currently only available in Google Allo and in Google Pixel search)[22] sources are included for search information in voice response and in the response card.[23]

See also


  1. ^ a b Singhal, Amit (May 16, 2012). "Introducing the Knowledge Graph: Things, Not Strings". Official Blog (of Google). Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  2. ^ (registration required) Waters, Richard (May 16, 2012). "Google To Unveil Search Results Overhaul". Financial Times. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bohn, Dieter. "Google Now: behind the predictive future of search". The Verge. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Orlowski, Andrew (13 January 2014). "Google stabs Wikipedia in the front". The Register. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Kohs, Gregory (6 January 2014). "Google's Knowledge Graph Boxes: killing Wikipedia?". Wikipediocracy. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Marshall, Gary. "Like Harvey Dent, Google has become Two Face". TechRadar. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Andrieu, Olivier (14 January 2014). "Le Knowledge Graph de Google ferait baisser le trafic de Wikipedia" (in French). Abondance. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Jeff Jarvis: Google knowledge graph has more than 70 billion facts". Twitter. Oct 4, 2016. 
  9. ^ Staff (December 4, 2012). "Get smarter answers from the Knowledge Graph from Português to 日本語 to русский". Google. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  10. ^ Akesson, Andrew (August 27, 2014). "Google My Business Profiles Start Ranking In Non-Branded Searches". Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ Newton, Casey (December 14, 2012). "How Google is taking the Knowledge Graph global". CNET. 
  12. ^ Brown, Aaron (December 12, 2012). "Get smarter answers from the Knowledge Graph from Português to 日本語 to русский". Inside Search. Google. 
  13. ^ Google (May 15, 2013). "Google I/O 2013: Keynote". 
  14. ^ Jessica Lee (16 May 2013). "OK Google: 'The End of Search as We Know It'". Search Engine Watch. Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Transferring Data to Wikidata and Shutting Down". Google+. Dec 16, 2014. Retrieved Dec 18, 2014. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "ahoo Has Their Own Knowledge Graph, Not Without Their Own Embarrassing Issues". Search Engine Land. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  18. ^ "Baidu - SEC Filing". Baidu. Baidu Inc. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  19. ^ He, Qi (October 6, 2016). "Building The LinkedIn Knowledge Graph". Engineering Post. LinkedIn. 
  20. ^ "Your business information in the Knowledge Panel",, accessed May 12, 2016.
  21. ^ Dewey, Caitlin. "You probably haven’t even noticed Google’s sketchy quest to control the world’s knowledge", Washington Post (May 11, 2016): "The one on the left is unsourced; the one on the right is sourced to Wikipedia".
  22. ^ "What is Google Assistant, how does it work, and when can you use it? - Pocket-lint". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  23. ^ "The difference between Google Now and Google Assistant". CNET. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 

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