If one of Google’s goals in launching the Knowledge Graph was to increase the number of searches being conducted, then it seems the mission has been accomplished. Google reports an unspecified surge in search queries since it launched May 16.
“Early indications are that people are interacting with it more, learning about more things…and doing more [search] queries,” Google’s Senior VP Amit Singhal told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s stoking people’s curiosity.”
A Google spokesperson backed up Singhal’s claims, saying people are “doing more searches as a result.” But the WSJ couldn’t pry out any specific numbers.
The Knowledge Graph shows a large box (or “panel”, as CEO Larry Page described it) to the right of Google’s organic search results on certain queries for noteworthy people, TV shows, sports teams, places, books, and other entities.
In addition to pulling some basic biographical or factual information from Wikipedia, Google links to related searches. Say you search for [aerosmith], Google links you to searches for the individual band members, popular songs and albums, and other rock bands that other people search for.
A Wikimedia spokesperson said Google’s heavy use of the Wikipedia data is “suitable” but didn’t indicate whether the site is seeing more or less Google traffic since the Knowledge Graph debuted for all English language users. Considering Wikipedia data is featured in the box, in addition to its prominent visibility in Google’s search result pages, it’s pretty unlikely Wikipedia is hurting for Google traffic.
As Google continues building its “next generation of search,” Singhal noted the Knowledge Graph has some shortcomings, such as featuring inaccurate information (e.g., listing the wrong New York Knicks coach) and that it is “weak in many areas”, which the WSJ then notes means “products.”
Singhal also discussed the affect on PPC ads, noting that Google is “experimenting” with page designs for searches where numerous paid search ads appear for a search query in addition to the Knowledge panel.
Currently when this happens – for example, a search for [lake tahoe] – users see a map with the option of clicking on a down arrow to see more Knowledge Graph information, which pushes the PPC ads further down the page.
This has been a big month of changes at search engines, with Bing revamping its results to highlight website snapshots and social data beside its organic results, while Yahoo just rolled out Axis, its attempt at visual search.