How Google is focusing upon Building and Promoting Entity Collections

Added 11:48 AM (pst) May 3, 2015, H/t to Natzir Turrado, incoming news is that Google+ is introducing a new feature they are referring to as Collections, and that announcement from The Windows Club features the word “curation” prominently as do the two Google patent applications I write about in this post. Here’s how Susannah Lindsay in The Windows Club article uses the concept:

Google Plus users will get an opportunity to curate pieces of content into their collection, with others holding the permission of viewing, sharing, and following those collections as they please.

Added 12:15 Pm (pst) More on the rumored Collections feature at Google+: Google+ is Testing a New “Collections” Feature That Seems to be Part Pinterest, Part Blogging

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Open Data Commons Opportunities

There are a lot of Government Web sites that have made the data that they collect and compile freely available to the public. The licenses that data has been released under are described on the following Pages:

ODC Public Domain Dedication and License (PDDL)
Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL)
Open Data Commons Attribution License

If you are considering starting a project using that kind of data, you should read the Open Data Handbook, which provides a lot in the way of details, and much more information is available on Data.gov, including a broad overview of different types of topics that data is available about, including:

  • Agriculture,
  • Business,
  • Climate,
  • Consumer,
  • Ecosystems,
  • Education,
  • Energy,
  • Finance,
  • Health,
  • Local Government,
  • Manufacturing,
  • Ocean,
  • Public Safety,
  • Science & Research.

There’s some interesting discussion of Licensing, openness of data, and attribution in a blog post from the Open Knowledge Blog, titled Open Data: Openness and Licensing.

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How Google May Identify Main Entities

A Google patent granted this week describes how Google might try to understand main entities that appear on Web pages, and how that awareness might influence the search results that the search engine shows off in search results.

An entity is a specifically named person, place, or thing (including ideas and objects) that could be connected to other entities based upon relationships between them. Some pages may make certain Entities to be the main entities of a page, while others may include additional information about entities that are related in some manner to those first entities. When some entities appear on pages, they may be presented in an ambiguous manner that doesn’t make them the main topic for the page they appear upon.

Entities are said to exist in a graph that connects them to other entities based upon relationships between them. For instance, Google and Bing are both Search Engines, both internet domains, both employers of many search engineers, and have CEOs, Vice Presidents, Marketing staff, headquarters, data centers, Web indexes. There are a lot of related entities that might show up on Web pages about both.

This view of Entities being related to each other, and belonging to an “Entity Graph” is very similar to what the Microsoft Patent I wrote about recently in How Bing May Expand Queries Based upon Finding Entities Within them. A number of the ideas behind how that patent works and this one are similar in that some knowledge about an entity might cause a search engine to display information about related entities.

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Google Knowledge Cards Improve Search Engine Experiences

Google Knowledge Cards Show Off What Entity a Search Result is About

In the Google patent “Providing Knowledge Panels With Search Results” is a reference to an earlier Google patent filing describing Knowledge Cards in depth. The patent provision is titled, “Apparatus and Method for Supplying Search Results with a knowledge Card”, and it is identified as being Patent Application No. 61/515,305, filed on Aug. 4, 2011.

This provisional patent about knowledge cards is not linked on the Web, otherwise, I would provide a link to it.

It is supposedly “incorporated fully” into that later patent filing, but a lot of details about what knowledge cards are have been left out of the later patent filing. I wrote about that later patent in a post titled, How Google Decides What to Know in Knowledge Graph Results, but the patent specifically about Google knowledge cards contains information not in the later patent, which is why I created this post.

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Google on Crawling the Web of Data

A patent granted to Google this past fall explores how the search engine looks for patterns on Web pages to use to find facts on the Web to fill up Google’s data repository (Knowledge Base).

An image from a local park in Carlsbad symbolizing the Sun.

I recently wrote a series of posts about Google collecting data to enable them to answer Direct answers. starting with one titled Direct Answers – Natural Language Search Results for Intent Queries.

In one of those posts, I write about a paper (pdf) that the inventors of that patent co-authored which describes ways that Google was finding and extracting facts from pages to include in a repository of facts.

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How Google was Corroborating Facts for Featured Snippets

When someone searches the web, and asks a question such as “what is the capital of Poland” or “what is the birth date of George Washington” a web search engine such as Google may not be very helpful in providing an answer if it provides a list of web pages that might answer that query instead of an actual answer. People in the SEO community have been referring to such answers as Featured Snippets.

Google answering a direct question with a factual answer.
Google answering a direct question with a factual answer.

A patent granted to Google this week describes how Google indexes data across the web, and may look to a large collection of facts (in a fact repository such as a knowledge graph) to check upon and verify such answers, so that it can deliver them with more confidence and certainty, like in the answer to the question about George Washington’s birthday shown above.

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