Google strives to enlighten with new search tool

Google is hailing the Knowledge Graph as an important step in internet search.

Google is introducing a new tool designed to make its search engine smarter.

The new feature, debuting May 16, draws from a Google-built database of more than 500 million people, places, and commonly requested things to provide a summary of vital information alongside the main search results.

Google Inc. spent the past two years poring through online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the CIA Factbook, and other sources to expand a database of 12 million items that it picked up as part of its 2010 acquisition of Metaweb.…Read More

Google search gets more personal, raises hackles

Activists says Google's latest announcement is 'unfair' to web users.

Google is sifting through the photos and commentary on its blossoming social network so its internet search results can include more personal information.

The additional personal touches that began to roll out Tuesday mark another step toward one of Google’s most ambitious goals. The internet search leader eventually hopes to know enough about each of its users so it can tailor its results to fit the unique interests of each person looking for something.

Different people should start seeing different search results more frequently now that Google Inc. is importing content from its 6-month-old Plus service, a product that the company introduced in an attempt to counter the popularity of Facebook’s online hangout and Twitter’s short-messaging hub.…Read More

A whole new game for internet search

All the major search engines have revamped their formulas to include social media data as key indicators of a website’s importance.

A quiet revolution has taken place in recent months, as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and other internet gatekeepers have revised their search algorithms in an attempt to bring users more personalized information. This subtle shift has enormous implications for students, researchers, and society at large, experts say.

When web surfers use Google or Bing to look for information about, say, the national debt, the search results they now see at the top of the page might differ from those of their neighbor. That’s because all the major search engines have revamped their formulas to include social media data as key indicators of a website’s importance.

Every time we click on an internet link, we’re contributing to our online profile. In effect, we’re telling Google (and Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Facebook), “This is a source I like and trust.” Now, the ranking systems of all the major search engines take these hundreds of little endorsements we make every day and use them to deliver information that the companies behind these tools assume we’ll value: The links from our most “trusted” sources—such as our friends, or the websites we visit every day—appear at the top of our search results.…Read More

Google mulls a blend of education, search

Google is thinking about ways to inject search into the educational process as more than just a quick and dirty cheat sheet for students, CNET reports. One of the most amazing things about internet search is the speed and precision at which it returns answers to specific questions, ideal for students researching subjects for tests or papers. But this also generates criticism that the knowledge gained from services like Google can be a mile wide and an inch deep. Google’s Peter Norvig, director of research, has begun exploring “education search,” or ways to help students “get to where they are going,” he said. Norvig told attendees at the trade show Search Marketing Expo West that he’s trying to understand “how can we support people who are looking for not just an answer in five minutes,” but over a longer period of learning as well. The project is in the very early stages, and Norvig was unwilling to share much more about the thinking behind Google’s plans. In January, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he was worried about the “deep reading” ability of younger people who have grown up with the internet. Instant information gratification provided by PCs and mobile devices “probably has an effect on cognition, probably has an effect on reading,” Schmidt said…

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