How is a Knowledge Panel for an Entity Triggered?

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How is a Knowledge Panel Triggered for an Entity in Search Results?

This patent is about presenting data with search results and deciding when to show that data in knowledge panels with those search results.

The Web provides access to various resources, such as image files, audio files, video files, and web pages.

A search system may identify resources in response to queries submitted by users and provide information about the useful resources to the users.

The users can then navigate through, e.g., click on the search results to acquire information of interest.

Users of search systems are often searching for information about a specific entity.

For example, users may want to learn about a singer that they heard on the radio.

Conventionally, the user would submit a search query identifying the singer and select from a list of search results determined to be relevant to the search query.

What Are The Processes Behind Showing a KP?

This patent’s display Works by:

  • Receiving a query
  • Obtaining search results responsive to query
  • Identifying the first set of factual entities referenced by the query
  • Selecting from among the first set of factual entities a particular factual entity for which a knowledge panel is eligible to display with the search results, the selection is on a measure of topicality between each identified factual entity in the first set and one or more of the obtained search results
  • Determining that the knowledge panel for the particular factual entity is to display with the search results, the decision is at least in part, on the content of the knowledge panel and characteristics of the search results, the knowledge panel including at least one content item, for the selected factual entity, received from a first resource and at least one content item, for the selected factual entity, received from a second resource different than the first resource
  • Providing a knowledge panel

More features may include:

  • Selecting, from among the first set of factual entities, a particular factual entity for which a knowledge panel is eligible to display with the search results can include identifying a second set of factual entities, each factual entity of the second set being a factual entity determined to be topical to the obtained search results
  • Identifying one or more factual entities included in the set of factual entities and the second set of factual entities
  • Selecting one of the one or more factual entities as the identified factual entity

Identifying the second set of factual entities, each factual entity of the second set being a factual entity determined to be topical to the obtained search results.

These can include:

  • Identifying the third set of factual entities, each factual entity of the third set being a factual entity referenced in at least one of the obtained search results
  • Identifying a proper subset of the obtained search results, the proper subset including a particular number of higher-ranked obtained search results; for each factual entity of the third set of factual entities
  • Determining, relative to the factual entity, a partial topicality score for each search result in the proper subset of obtained search results, the partial topicality score for each search result is a measure of topical relatedness between the search result and the factual entity
  • Selecting from the third set of factual entities the second set of factual entities based on the partial topicality scores

Selecting the second set of factual entities based on the partial topicality scores can include, for each factual entity of the third set:

  • Determining a topicality score for the factual entity based on the partial topicality scores for the factual entity
  • Selecting the second set of factual entities based on the topicality scores
  • Determining the topicality score for the factual entity based on the partial topicality scores for the factual entity can include determining a weighted sum of the partial topicality scores for the factual entity

Selecting a Particular Factual Entity

Factual Information about entities may display for knowledge panels based on:

  • Determining a topicality score for the search result about each factual entity of the first set of factual entities, with the topicality score for a search result about a factual entity being a measure of topical relatedness of the search result for the factual entity
  • Comparing each topicality score to a topicality threshold to identify a proper subset of the topicality scores that exceed or meet the topicality threshold
  • Determining which one of the proper subsets of topicality scores corresponds to the highest-ranking search result for the proper subset of topicality scores
  • Selecting the factual entity that corresponds to the one partial topicality score as the particular factual entity.

Determining That Information for a Factual Entity Should Display With Search Results

This Decision may include:

  • Identifying a click-through rate for each search result about a received query
  • Determining that the identified click-through rates do not meet a threshold click-through rate
  • Determining to provide the knowledge panel in response to determining that the identified click-through rates do not satisfy the threshold click-through rate

Determining That Information for a Factual Entity display with Search Results

This can include:

  • Identifying a top ranked search result for the received query
  • Identifying a click-through rate for the top ranked search result about a received query
  • Determining that the identified click-through rate does not exceed meet a click-through rate threshold
  • Determining to provide the knowledge panel in response to determining that the identified click-through rate does not exceed meet the click-through rate threshold

Determining That Information for a Factual Entity displays with Search Results

These may include:

  • Identifying content for inclusion in knowledge panels
  • Determining that the identified content includes at least a threshold amount of content
  • Determining to provide the knowledge panel in response to determining that the identified content includes at least a threshold amount of content

Determining That Information for a Factual Entity displays with Search Results

These can include:

  • Determining whether the knowledge panel includes links to query refinements for the received query
  • Determining to provide the knowledge panel in response to determining that the knowledge panel includes links to query refinements for the received query

Advantages of Following the Process in the Triggering Knowledge Panels Patent

  • Knowledge panels can improve users’ search experiences, particularly for queries directed to learning, browsing, or discovery. For example, the knowledge panel supplies users with basic factual information from many different sources or a summary of information about a particular entity referenced in a search query
  • Knowledge panels can assist users in navigating to many different network locations that each includes related content seamlessly and naturally
  • Knowledge panels can supply new content that a user may not otherwise encounter without selecting several different search results and visiting many network locations. Knowledge panels can also help users get information faster than they would if the users had to click through many search results to get the information from many different network locations

This Triggering knowledge Panels patent is:

Triggering knowledge panels
Inventors: John R. Provine
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent: 10,922,326
Granted: February 16, 2021
Filed: March 14, 2013

Abstract

Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, provide knowledge panels with search results.

In one aspect, a method includes receiving a query.

Search results that are responsive to the received query get returned.

The first set of factual entities referenced by the received query are identified.

A particular factual entity shows from the first set.

If a knowledge panel for the particular factual entity is to display with the search results based, at least in part, on the content of the knowledge panel and characteristics of the search results.

The knowledge panel can include at least one content item for the selected factual entity received from a first resource and at least one content item for the selected factual entity received from a second resource different from the first resource.

The knowledge panel can display.

What is a Knowledge Panel?

A search may return one or more knowledge panels in response to a search query.

Knowledge panels are user interface elements that provide information or other content related to an entity referenced in a search query.

An entity could be a person, place, country, landmark, animal, historical event, organization, business, sports team, sporting event, movie, song, album, game, work of art, or any other entity.

An entity may also be a concept, subject, or topic.

A knowledge panel summarizes information for a specific entity when it appears in a search result.

A knowledge panel for a singer may include:

  • The name of the singer
  • An image of the singer
  • A description of the singer
  • One or more facts about the singer
  • Content that identifies songs and albums recorded by the singer
  • Links to searches related to the singer
  • Other types of information and content

A knowledge panel for an entity typically will include content obtained from many disparate sources or many different domains. For example, a knowledge panel for a person could include an image from an official website for the person and facts from an online encyclopedia not affiliated with the official website for the person.

When a query goes to the search system, it can determine whether to provide a knowledge panel with search results for the search query. For example, this may depend on whether the query references a known entity.

When the system decides whether the query refers to a known entity based on comparing the received query or terms of the received query to an entity index that identifies known entities and their aliases.

If there is a match based on the comparison, the received query may refer to the known entity, and the system may provide a knowledge panel for the matching entity.

A query may refer to many entities or one or more terms that can be an alias of many entities. For example, the term “phoenix” may refer to a city in Arizona or a mythical bird. For a query that matches, or is otherwise relevant to, many known entities, the system can determine whether to show a knowledge panel for one of the matching entities, for example, if one entity is the most likely entity for the query or to provide a knowledge panel that includes content for many entities.

If a query includes “Phoenix, Ariz.” or the query was from a device located in Arizona, the system may determine that the city in Arizona is the most likely entity by the search query and provide a knowledge panel for the city of Phoenix. If the query includes only “phoenix,” the system may provide a knowledge panel that includes content for the city of Phoenix and the mythical bird.

A Disambiguation Knowledge Panel

Another example of a knowledge panel that may include content for many entities is a disambiguation knowledge panel.

A disambiguation knowledge panel is a knowledge panel that includes content for two or more different known entities and/or user interface elements that enable a searcher to specify which of the known entities is of interest to the user.

A “phoenix” disambiguation knowledge panel could include content items, including an artistic rendering of the mythical bird and a map representing Phoenix, Ariz. Each of these content items can display more information about the respective entities and/or include instructions on user interaction with one of the content items requesting a knowledge panel for the entity represented by the content item.

A disambiguation knowledge panel often includes the same or similar content for each entity referenced by the disambiguation knowledge panel.

A disambiguation knowledge panel may include titles for the entities, a brief description of the entities, and links that request resources with more information or start searches for each entity. The area of the knowledge panel designated for each entity may also be the same or similar in size.

A Dominant Entity Knowledge Panel

Another type of knowledge panel, including content for many entities, is a dominant entity knowledge panel.

A dominant entity knowledge panel includes content for many entities but has a greater amount of content for one or more matching entities.

Though more than one entity may match a query, a particular entity may more closely match the query and maybe more topical to results for the query. It could also be more relevant to the query than the other entities.

And Google may show a dominant entity knowledge panel with more content for the particular query, with less content for each of the other matching entities.

A dominant entity knowledge panel may show a title, image, description, set of facts, links to resources related to the particular entity, and more content for the particular entity.

That same dominant entity knowledge panel may also show, for each other matching entity, only a title, image, and link to more content for the entity.

The system may also consider how well an entity matches the query or search results identified for the query to decide which entity to show a knowledge panel for. For example, the system may select an entity matching the query and be well represented by the search results for the query.

Deciding Between Entitities

The search system may identify the first set of entities that each matches the query. It may also identify a second set of entities that are topical to the search results.

The system may then select between entities from both the first and second sets.
This can help ensure that the selected entity for which to provide a knowledge panel matches the search query and is also on-topic for the query.

Other Factors may decide whether to show a knowledge panel for a query, such as click-through rates or other performance measures of search results for the received query and/or content available to include in a knowledge panel for an entity referenced by the received query.

The system may think about whether search results for the query have:

  • A low engagement rate, e.g., a low click-through rate
  • Whether the query is non-navigational, e.g., the click-through rate of a high ranked search result for the query is high, whether there is enough content for the entity referenced by the query to show in a knowledge panel
  • Whether the knowledge panel for the entity includes links to common search refinements that users would otherwise have to enter manually

Deciding What Data a Knowledge Panel Contains?

A search service may include an apparatus attached to the search system.

The search system can decide whether to provide a knowledge panel for a search query. The knowledge panel apparatus can generate the knowledge panel and provide the generated knowledge panel.

The knowledge panel apparatus may display on the searcher’s device, bypassing the search system.

A knowledge panel is usually shown for queries determined to refer to a particular factual entity. These can include a person, place, country, landmark, animal, historical event, organization, business, sports team, sporting event, movie, song, album, game, work of art, or any other entity. A factual entity can also be a concept, subject, or topic.

A knowledge panel for an entity may include content from many disparate resources related to the particular entity. Besides, a knowledge panel may include factual information relevant to the entity.

A knowledge panel for an actor may include biographical information for the actor and content associated with shows that the actor has appeared in. Also, the knowledge panel may include a summary of information related to the entity.

A knowledge panel for a nation may include:

  • A map of the nation
  • The flag of the nation
  • The official language of the nation
  • Other facts and content related to the nation

Each of these units of information may be from different resources than the other discrete units of information.

A knowledge panel can be much larger and consume more search interface areas than standard search results. The knowledge panel may span the length or height of three or more standard search results to accommodate the knowledge panel’s content items and draw attention to the knowledge panel.

A knowledge panel may display in a knowledge panel area. That may be with or alongside a search results area that presents search results. The knowledge panel area may consume a larger area than the area consumed by two or more search results presented in the search results area.

The KP apparatus includes or is communicably coupled to one or more data storage units that include:

  • A content item store
  • A kp store
  • An entity index

The content item store may show many content items. These can be content items and are discrete units of content, such as data files, and can be in the form of text, images, videos, graphics, audio, tables, or other types of content.

The KP store may store knowledge panels for entities and/or knowledge panel templates filled with content to generate a knowledge panel. A knowledge panel template specifies types of content items to include in the knowledge panel and includes placeholders for content items of the specified type. So, a knowledge panel template may include placeholders for a title, one or more images, a description, a set of facts, and/or other types of content items.

The entity index can include an index of known entities. For each entity, this can include data identifying aliases of the entity (a celebrity may have several nicknames or stage names for which a user may enter as a query for the celebrity.) Each of the nicknames or stage names can be aliases for the entity index entity.

That entity index can also include an index of content items for each entity. For example, the KP apparatus may identify content items to include in knowledge panels for each entity and store the content items in the content item store. The knowledge panel apparatus can also index the content items in the entity index for use in later retrieval of the content items.

KP Templates

Depending on the type of entity identified in an entity found in a query, factual information associated with that entity could show. The patent provides examples to make that clearer.

One example shown is for a KP for a famous actor. That panel may show the Famous Actor appearing in movies and musical performances.

The KPs may include images of movie posters for movies in which a Famous Actor appeared. Those images may be from an online movie database and/or include a link to the online movie database.

The KP could also include a set of images for albums released by a Famous Actor. Those images may be from an online music database or an online music service and include a link to the source of the images. A table may provide information about movies, albums, or songs related to a Famous Actor. The KP could also include a set of images for related search queries. Those images could each include a link that initiates a search for the subject of the image.

Deciding what to show for an Entity?

Google may look at Topicality Scores to decide whether to show KPs. If an entity in a query is most likely to be the entity described in the query, there is more reason to show a knowledge panel.

Google may also consider performance measures, such as click-through rates, to decide whether to show more information for an identified entity. This would be especially true if the KP would make it more likely to help a searcher find the user’s information.

The apparatus may also consider the click-through rate for a highly ranked identified search result (such as a top-ranked search result or one of the top ten search results.)

If the click-through rate for a high-ranked search result is relatively high (such as greater than a threshold or at least a threshold amount greater than each of the other search results.)

A KP may not show if the content item store does not contain enough content to populate a knowledge panel for the entity, e.g., fewer than a threshold number of content items, the KPapparatus may determine that a knowledge panel for the entity will not display in response to the search query.

The apparatus determines to show a kp, at least in part, on the type of content available for the entity. The apparatus may have templates with placeholders for certain types of content to include in the knowledge panels. If that particular type of content specified by the template is not available for the entity, then the apparatus may decide not to show a knowledge panel.

If Google decides not to provide a kp for an entity, it may show search results without a panel.

Why Show a KP When Entities Appear in Queries?

If Google can recognize that an entity shows in a query, it can provide more information about that entity that a searcher may not have been aware of. That can include information that fits into a specific query template that may help a searcher understand better what they are looking for.

Google can show disambiguation panels when there is more than one entity that may have appeared in a query. The possible entities may have been searched for at different rates. Google may also decide that one of those entities is searched for much more than the other and could be considered dominant.

As a searcher, it can be possible to learn more about what you may be searching for by learning from search results from a search engine without clicking on anything. For example, when a search engine decides to show you KPs, you can learn a lot about the entities in your queries. That can make it possible to refine your query. You may see query refinements in that KP. You could also search for something other than what you may have thought was possibly a helpful query term or phrase. after learning more about that entity.

This can be true when the highest-ranking results for a query have low click-through rates. The KP may show query revisions or suggestions that you can click through to find answers to your query. That could make a KP very useful.

Last Updated 2/18/2021

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21 thoughts on “How is a Knowledge Panel for an Entity Triggered?”

  1. Thank you Bill 🙂 I feel a teeny bit smarter having read this – I’ll need to read it a couple of more times, as I’m sure I’ll pick up even more 🙂

  2. Hi Andy,

    Happy that you like this post. I’ve been following along with knowledge panels at Google since they started appearing, and trying to learn more about them. This one adds information about disambiguation panels and dominant entity panels. and tells us that information in a panel isn’t limited to places like Wikipedia. It’s interesting seeing them appearing the way that they are.

  3. this post. I’ve been following along with knowledge panels at Google since they started appearing, and trying to learn more about them. This one adds information Thank you

  4. trying to learn more about them. This one adds information about disambiguation panels and dominant entity panels. and tells us that information feel a teeny bit smarter having read

  5. Thanks Bill. Summarising, (in my simplified world): Google has a patent that triggers Knowledge Panels when they are relevant to the query!?
    Are you sometimes amazed some of these patents get past the US Patent Office’s receptionist, let alone peer scrutiny? 🙂

  6. Hi Dixon,

    There is a way to look at the dockets for filed patents in the PAIR database on the USPTO website where you can read final and non-final rejections of patents and amendments that are made to filings, and I will sometimes look up some patents to see how they may have been updated and changed and what patents they may have been infringing when they were first filed. IOt’s good to see what a prosecuting attorney at the USPTO might have said about a patent, and is worth taking a look in some cases.

  7. Hello Bill. Nice post. The post you have written on the topic is very informative. Something which, I was not familiar about this feature and thanx to you to let me know about this.
    keep writing this type of post.

  8. I’ve been following along with Google Knowledge panels since they started appearing and trying to learn more about them.

  9. Hi Bill, I am curious to know what determines the click-through rate threshold(number) that satisfies the trigger of KP. Thank you for sharing as always.

  10. Hi Amine,

    The patent does not tell us this information, so unless we somehow gain inside information from Google, it is unlikely that we will find out.

  11. Hi Bill,
    Thank you so much for sharing such informative article. I’m amazed because this “Knowledge Panel” was new to me. I was then wondering how search engine process the information, it seems pretty complicated. my level of knowledge is like a baby, I don’t know that much about this industry but am willing to learn.

    Thank you so much Bill,
    Chris

  12. Hello Bill,
    I have been following you for a long time, everything is going well after following your articles. keep it up. Thanks

  13. Thank you so much for sharing such informative article. I’m amazed because this I was then wondering how search engine process the information it seems pretty complicated. my level of knowledge is like This

  14. Thank you so much Bill for sharing this post! I didn’t quite understand how knowledge panels work, but I really appreciate how you broke things down here.

  15. Thanks for guiding me towards the right path. You are a fantastic mentor that is worthy of emulation. You deserve a big thank you from me.

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