Google Knowledge Graph and Taxonomy - It's in There

Google has just announced the Google Knowledge Graph (GKG).  Check out a video about Google Knowledge Graph here.

According to Google, this is a way to understand context about content. In the video, the excited Google-ite (is that what they are called?) says that it would be great if Google could understand that the words you are searching for were not just words, but things in the world.  That these things had attributes and were related to other things.

This has been the message that our company and consultants have been conveying for many years – in our workshops, presentations, client projects, white papers – that context is what matters and the terms without context are meaningless. 

Google has done a great job at making sense of words, however in the past the message was  that metadata is not useful.

The argument at the time was that forcing people to add metadata was drudgery and a waste of people’s time.  That point can certainly be argued.  We don’t want to force people to put labels on things if they don’t have to. 

But, while there is some content that does not need much care and feeding, other content that is critical to the business needs to be curated, managed, organized, edited, vetted, approved and safeguarded.  That content requires context to be retained for business purposes – the strategic plan, a merger document, contracts for purchases, statements of work, solutions to problems, key procedures for complex operations, and so on.

The challenge over the years has been in teaching organizations and business leadership about good content hygiene – the practices that allow efficiencies of process and the ability to transact and conduct business and run operations effectively.

Now Google says:

“When you search, you’re not just looking for a webpage. You’re looking to get answers, understand concepts and explore.

The next frontier in search is to understand real-world things and the relationships among them. So we're building a Knowledge Graph: a huge collection of the people, places and things in the world and how they're connected to one another.

This is how we’ll be able to tell if your search for “mercury” refers to the planet or the chemical element--and also how we can get you smarter answers to jump start your discovery.”

I think this is a fantastic thing for the world of information management.  Because now we can point to how taxonomies and metadata are leveraged by Google as opposed to being hidden behind the scenes. 

In the past, a frequent response from business leadership has been “we just want search to be like Google”.  “Make it like Google” and we had to say, No – there is more to it than that. 

Well, now perhaps with the Knowledge Graph – which shows context and entities about content – will cause people to start saying “make our search like Google…Knowledge Graph…”  We can say “absolutely” and here is how you make it work with content and process analysis, use cases and scenarios, taxonomy, metadata and supporting content strategy.

Seth Earley

Seth Earley is the Founder & CEO of Earley Information Science and the author of the award winning book The AI-Powered Enterprise: Harness the Power of Ontologies to Make Your Business Smarter, Faster, and More Profitable. An expert with 20+ years experience in Knowledge Strategy, Data and Information Architecture, Search-based Applications and Information Findability solutions. He has worked with a diverse roster of Fortune 1000 companies helping them to achieve higher levels of operating performance.