The Financial Times reports that Google is looking to launch "the biggest overhaul of its (sic) search results in five years". The search giant's relentless innovation machine has come up with a new way to approach search termed the "knowledge graph". "The new service – appearing to the right of regular search results – will present users with detailed information about more than 500m people, places and other “real world” items in response to a search query, rather than passing them on to another website to find an answer."
Universal Search by Google launched in '07 focused on expanding content with the now familiar categories of images, web, video, maps etc. and and emphasized speed. Knowledge Graph represents an attempt to make Google's search engine smarter in three principal areas: finding the right thing as in eliminating ambiguity arising from identical names for different things; getting the best summary or the most relevant material and going deeper and broader by turning up "unexpected" results.
Google's newest search avatar has already begun to attract criticism if not scrutiny from both rivals and regulators as it presumably will result in fewer clicks on the results of search. That could happen if the knowledge graph does as promised. Earlier a search for airfares from New York to Los Angeles results not only showed up the various flights available but also the websites of numerous online travel agents which offered to search for the cheapest fares. Knowledge graph will not only suggest the various routes on tap but also the lowest fare with the ability to book it directly on that of the airlines website. Ditto for hotels where hotel names and the lowest rates available for the day pop up.
Requiring an active sign-on unlike knowledge graph but in a way supplementing it is a slightly older enhancement offered by Google somewhat improbably called "schemer". Billed as a "recommendation service" when it was launched last year the company said it would help users in a variety of ways be it"exploring a new city, checking out a friend’s movie recommendations, or just finding new activities for your weekends." In short, a veritable virtual concierge. Google's latest enhancement only underscores a point made in another piece about Facebook in the Financial Times that continual innovation is a necessary "reminder about the impermanence of success." For consumers in a variety of industries from hospitality to retail it can only have better outcomes in all areas.