Google may be busy on many fronts but it is first and foremost the champion of search. The company is constantly working to improve the search experience, apparently aiming for what its co-founder Larry Page sees as the perfect search tool: an engine that understands exactly what users mean and returns just the thing they want. The Knowledge Graph, launched in the US in May, is the latest feature designed to enhance the intelligence and usefulness of Google´s search engine. On Wednesday, the Google Knowledge Graph became available to users in the UK and all other English-speaking countries.

Announcing the roll-out in a blog post, Google´s senior vice-president of search Amit Singhal said that the US feedback had been overwhelmingly positive and the company decided to make the benefits available to users in other countries. The service taps into a database containing more than 500 million real-world people, places and things that share 3.5 billion attributes and connections. As a result, users are presented with different suggestions when a query term happens to apply to several things. Singhal used “rio” as an example, noting that a search for this keyword would produce suggestions such as the Brazilian city, the Las Vegas casino or the 2011 animated film. In addition, the Knowledge Graph makes it possible to generate lists of related things, facilitating searches of a more general nature, for example something like “hurricanes in 2008” or “famous jazz musicians”.

The launch of the feature outside the US came alongside the start of an opt-in trial also designed to improve search results. This involves the integration of Gmail with the search engine, allowing users to see relevant results that may not be publicly available on the web.

Ben Hollom

August 10, 2012