Where Images in Question Answers, Carousels, and Knowledge Panels Come From

Just where do images in Question Answer, Carousels and knowledge panels at Google come from?

When Google introduced us to the knowledge graph, it also introduced us to pictures and the possibility of other kinds of rich content (video, audio, etc.) in those knowledge panels, and pictorial lists displayed in carousels at the top of pages in response to a query, such as “What is the tallest building in the World?”

A carousel in response to  a question of 'what is the tallest building in the world?

A Google patent granted a couple of weeks ago, describes how Google processes search system queries, and might display knowledge graph answers to questions that include images. Here’s where they introduced carousels, in their page on the Knowledge Graph:

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Google’s First Semantic Search Invention was Patented in 1999

This is officially part of the story I’m telling in a presentation I prepared for SMX East, in a couple of weeks in New York. The name of the session I’m in is “Hummingbird and the Entity Revolution,” which reminds me of a Prince song from the 1980s.

The story starts off with a student given a tour by another student whom he gets into a fight with. They liked fighting with each other, and ended up becoming close friends. They studied together, and when their supervising professor went away to Japan for a year, they stopped working on their advanced degrees, and played on the internet instead. They created something they called Backrub. It later had its name changed to Google, and many people in the present day think it is the internet.

The entrance to one of Google's buildings

On March 10, 1999, Sergey Brin filed a “Miscellaneous Incoming Letter” (this is what it is described as in the USPTO’s PAIR database). It’s a provisional patent titled Extracting Patterns and Relations from Scattered Databases Such as the World Wide Web (pdf) (Skip quickly past the first couple of pages. It becomes much more legible from the third page on.)

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Google Granted Patent on Using What You Watch on TV as a Ranking Signal

I’m going to have to turn up the sound on my TV, and decide carefully what to watch, and test this. It would be very interesting if it works. Is Google clued in to what you are watching on TV? If so, is that through a set top box, or an internet enabled television?

If true, will this change the way that I do keyword research? Will it alter how I create content for the web, or decide upon page titles or meta descriptions? I’m not sure, but I am surprised.

The patent says that it might monitor what’s on TV in your area, and look for queries that might be related to that information. So, if someone searches for “Eagles” and there’s a documentary about the band, the “Eagles” playing on TV in your area, that’s a signal that may influence the search results you receive.

Flowchart from the patent on using TV as a ranking signal

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Lessons Learned from Using Google’s Tagging and Extraction Data Highlighter Tool

added: 11/4/2015 – I tried using the data Highlighter Tool again a few months ago, but changed my robots.txt file first, to stop it from blocking CSS and JS files on the site. After giving Google a chance to reindex the pages of my site without CSS and JS files blocked, I tried using the data highlighter tool. Unblocking those files made a difference in how well the tool worked. It understood the layout of content on my pages better, and it was able to better understand patterns on my pages, and correctly highlight the same types of data from one page to another. So, I recommend making sure that Google can crawl the CSS and JS files on your pages, if you want to try to use the Data Highlighter tool from Google’s search console.

I recently found a patent with two Google search engineers, Joshua Ain and Justin Boyan, listed as two of the three inventors. Last summer, at Google I/O in San Francisco, they joined together to talk about some tools that can more easily help webmasters add markup for structured data on the Web. The patent appears to be for Google’s Data Highlighter, which was one of those tools.

The patent is:

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Is Google Going to Marry their Knowledge Base with their Search Engine?

Google has been answering queries with its search engine for over 15 years, and has been showing us it can answer questions with facts from its Browsable Fact Repository and/or the Google Knowledge Graph.

Might Google at some point bring the two together?

To a degree, Google has been merging some results, showing a set of search results (from the search engine) and a knowledge panel (from the Knowledge Graph) on the same results page. But you could say that those are separate and unique entities on search results pages.

jim-thorpe

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What Ranking Signal is Better, HTTPS or FOAF markup, when Searcher and Searched Author are Connected?

Recently, Google announced that they would be ranking pages higher in search results when those pages use a secure protocol of https. The Google Webmaster Central blog told us so through Google Webmaster Trends Analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, in HTTPS as a ranking signal. The use of https doesn’t necessarily make a page more relevant or more important for a search, but it could help lead to a more secure web.

Google was just granted a patent for assigning some searched sites to be deemed authoritative for a query that someone they are socially connected performed a search for. This isn’t for all queries, but rather just some queries that Google might determine are “trigger queries,” or queries that are presently popular.

And it’s not for all searchers, but only searchers that are connected to each other.

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