Google grows Knowledge Graph, improves voice search and adds personal search results (video)

9 Aug 2012

The latest round of improvements to Google’s services is what the search giant sees as baby steps towards building the ‘search engine of the future’. Judging by this, the future of search will involve a deeper understanding of user queries, be they entered by text or spoken out loud, and ‘personal results’ coming from user accounts.

With Apple’s voice search feature Siri taking a lot of credit for a job Google does fairly well already, the search giant has decided to improve speech recognition on its own voice search feature so it can better understand users’ natural language and talk back to them. The updated service, which is already available on Android and coming soon to iOS, will now give users a spoken response to a direct question and results have been improved thanks to the Knowledge Graph.

Spread of knowledge

Yes, the Knowledge Graph: a big improvement to Google’s search results introduced to US users in May. This service is now being rolled out to every English-speaking country, offering at-a-glance fact sheets with key information alongside search results.

The spread of the Knowledge Graph also comes with improvements to the service. To help users better define ambiguous terms in search, suggested terms will now offer different meanings for a search term (say ‘Rio’, which could be a city, a hotel or an animated film released last year) powered by the Knowledge Graph.

Google search

The Knowledge Graph will also help Google to collate lists of answers for searches where the query refers to a collection of sorts. These lists or collections will appear as a carousel of results across the top of the page. If the query is subjective, such as ‘things to do in Paris’ or ‘best films from 2008’, answers are based on what is frequently mentioned and currently being discussed online.

Google search


Personal results

Google is also starting a trial where users can sign up to retrieve search results from their Gmail accounts directly from the Google search box. These results will appear to the right of web results on the page in an expandable box.

<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" style="width:640px; height:360px;" data="">  <param name="movie" value="" />  <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />  <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" />  </object><div style="font-size: 0.8em">  </div> Google search with personal results

This function is still in development with Google intending further enhancements, such as searching for ‘my flights’ and seeing a neatly arranged itinerary of any upcoming travels logged in your email.

Google search with personal results

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic