Google’s new “Knowledge Vault” might have begun as a whimper (a quiet announcement in a talk by Google’s Kevin Murphy at the CIKM Conference last October), but it might be about to make a large bang.
Interest in the development picked up in August this year, with a number of articles appearing in sources as diverse as New Scientist, SearchEngineLand and Go Fish Digital.
Is Google’s Knowledge Graph history? Is a mighty new monarch about to accede to the search throne?
Google, the New Scientist reported, was building a “vast knowledge bank” which, according to SearchEngineLand, would power the future of search. Meanwhile Go Fish Digital pronounced Knowledge Graph passé if not yet quite dead. For its part, Google moved swiftly to clarify that Knowledge Vault was still at the research paper stage and was not an active product. In fact, the company was experimenting with a number of models designed to build a knowledge base through machine learning and by extracting meaning from online text.
Currently, Knowledge Graph provides Google with data on 500 million different “things” (people, places, and so on) and has amassed 3.5 billion facts. If those numbers sound immense, think again. They’re actually fairly limited, representing a tiny proportion of all the knowledge that exists out there in cyberspace.
Despite Google’s mention of numerous other knowledge-building models, a recent study by SEO consulting agency Stone Temple suggests that Knowledge Vault’s conversion of data into intelligible knowledge is already beating rival initiatives like Bing’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri hands down. When it analysed the results of more than 3,000 queries, Knowledge Vault delivered enhanced results on 58 percent of the queries run on Google. This dwarfed Siri’s 29 percent and Cortana’s 20 percent.
As the Stone Temple study put it:
“This is clear evidence that Google is much further down the path with this type of work than either Apple or Cortana.”
Writing in SearchEngineLand, online marketing expert Eric Enge argues that, whatever the impact of Knowledge Vault will turn out to be, “increased machine intelligence is going to transform the way search works and what it displays.”
Content production may need to make friends with The Vault very soon.