The Early Days of the Semantic Web

In 2003, a paper titled Semantic Search , was published by Ramanathan Guha of IBM, Rob McCool of Knowledge Systems Lab at Stanford University, and Eric Miller of W3C and MIT. Their stated goal in the paper was to take technologies such as web services and the Semantic Web and use them to “improve traditional web searching.”

This was written before Ramanathan Guha joined Google, started Google Custom Search Engines, created Google’s version of Trust Rank, and introduced Schema.

A statue on top of a building in Culpeper, Virginia. At least, I hope it was a statue.
A statue on top of a building in Culpeper, Virginia. At least, I hope it was a statue.

I’m working on putting together a history of the Semantic Web at Google, and this early look at Semantic Web provides some insights from at least one person who played a major role in how the Semantic Web is becoming part of search at Google.

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Google Queries for Instances of Data Help Reveal the Classes Where They Belong

You are cloxacillin, a kind of medication and an entity that some people may not know a lot about, but part of a bigger class of medicines that people are familiar with. And you’re taking a visit through a search engine as someone has been recently prescribed to you, and they want to know more about you.

cloxacillin molecule diagram
{{Information |Description ={{en|1=Ball-and-stick model of oxacillin molecule. The structure is taken from ChemSpider. ID 5873}} |Source ={{own}} |Author =MarinaVladivostok |Date =2013-07-22

They copy your spelling from the bottle they got at the pharmacy. They couldn’t read the handwriting of the doctor who initially prescribed in. Good thing pharmacists are trained in reading doctors’ writing.You name is spelled out, and a press of the search box button and knowledge is on its way.

A Google Knowledge panel for colxacillin

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How Google May Select Their Data Sources Based Upon Keywords

When I was in law school, I was a teaching assistant for an environmental law professor. One of the tasks he had me working upon was a review and analysis of electronic databases that could be used to assess natural resource damages when some environment harm took place, such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

How do you determine the cost of the spill to the environment, to wildlife, to people who live in the area, to people who rely upon the area for their jobs and welfare. In short, you look at things such as other decisions in other courts where such things may have been litigated.

flowers from a local park as part of a master gardener program.

At the time, the World Wide Web was still a year away, and many of these electronic databases we were looking at were very helpful sources of information. My task was to review those, and see how much value and help they might hold.

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How Google May Transform Queries into Trigger Queries

Recently I wrote about Google’s Enriched Results Patent, where Google looked at query terms searched for, and for some of them the search engine returned special “enriched” search results that showed off things such as financial information when the query might have been something like a financial stock market term, such as “GooG” for Google.

A search result for Goog returns a financial listing for Google in search results.

At Search Engine Land in 2007, I wrote about Google’s OneBox patent, and much like Google looking for query terms that might return an enriched search result, under the onebox patent, Google might decide among a range of seven different types of search results, including things such as news results, images, videos, local results and others.

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Google on Creating a Relevant Second Screen for TV

Google was granted a patent last week that looks like it might have been among one of the earliest patents filed by the company. It involves showing television programs (News Programs to be more exact), and showing web pages that might be relevant to the transcripts of the shows being presented to viewers.

Transcripts of TV queried to find relevant web pages

The details of this recently granted version of the patent filed are:

Finding web pages relevant to multimedia streams
Invented by Monika H. Henzinger, Bay-Wei Chang, and Sergey Brin
Assigned to Google Inc.
The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
United States Patent 8,868,543
Granted October 21, 2014
Filed: April 8, 2003

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How I Came to Love Entities

I recently revisited a web site that I worked on almost a decade ago, and one of my favorite pages on the site no longer exists, but its spirit and inspiration remains. The site was Baltimore.org, at the time for the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, and has since been rebranded to the more memorable, “Visit Baltimore.” Back in 2005, the Association told us that they wanted a page on Black History, and that they wanted it to rank well for the term “Black History.”

The Baltimore Inner Harbor

One of our early efforts wasn’t bad, but lacked the ability to generate a lot of interest and wasn’t really shared much by others. We weren’t really drawing a lot of traffic to the site for the term black history, and there were a lot of really good pages that deserved to rank well for the term. Ours just wasn’t competing.

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Searching with Pronouns: What are they? Coreferences in Followup Queries

At Google’s 15th anniversary celebration last summer, shortly after Hummingbird was introduced, Tamar Yehoshua, Google VP of Search, showed us conversational search at Google by first demonstrating a query asking for “pictures of the Eiffel Tower”, and then following up with the query “How tall is It?”

Looking through the base of the Eiffel Tower.

In that second query, Google had to not only remember the Eiffel Tower was being asked about, but also to recognize the Eiffel Tower when it was being referred to as “it.” That is part of the new “conversational search” that Google is now engaging in, using something know by linguists as a “coreference.” I wanted to write about coreferences to clear up confusion that people might have had about them.

I was inspired to do that after reading an article from Eric Enge earlier today, where he wrote about Knowledge Graph Advances From Google

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Google Glass Augmented Reality and Magic Leap Virtual Reality Team Up?

Hat tip to Barbara Starr (follow her on Google+ for interesting news on Semantic Search and new technology developments), who asked the question that is the title to this post (using slighly different words.)

The Verge reported this morning that Google leads $542 million funding of mysterious augmented reality firm Magic Leap

Magic Leap Header from Twitter

You really need to visit the Magic Leap website to get a sense of what they are capable of doing, and there are a few more details about this funding on their press page, including this line from Google’s Sundar Pichai, SVP at Google:

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Getting Information about Search, SEO, and the Semantic Web Directly from the Search Engines