Google’s new search functionality may be boon or bust to businesses

Google today (May 16) unveiled a new search engine functionality, which it hopes will better connect people to the information they want.

Mashable said the new search results, called Knowledge Graph and appearing in a box on the right rail, make the search engine “1,000 times smarter.”

Google is the enviable position of having accumulated its database of 500 million people and things, enhanced by its acquisition of Freebase in 2010, as well its access to its own Google Local, Google Maps and Google Shopping, and Wikipedia. And if that isn’t enough, it has served up results showing 3.5 million relationships among them, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

“The Knowledge Graph is about collecting information about objects in the real world,” Shashi Thakur, who served as technical lead on effort, said in an explanatory video.

For instance, if you type “kings,” the new search bar will show the hockey team in Los Angeles, the basketball team in Sacramento and a long-gone TV show on NBC in 2009.

If you search for a famous person, not your mother, the right rail will show photos, key facts and links to other related searches, the LA Times says.

The move is a logical progression for the search engine, as it further solidifies its position as the go-to resource for just about anything.

That search leadership position, of course, further validates efforts to ensure that Google sees a business and it might boost the value of Google Adwords. My logic, based on early information, is that if people are further engaged in Google as the search engine that delivers them results they desire, then one would want to have his business appear on search results and ads placed on Google.

Of course, the same logic that suggested increased value from being on Google could drive up costs for keywords and efforts to rank higher. As a result, Google could become a more expensive play. In that scenario, a business would need to dig deeper to see value.

But it’s too early to know all the effects of Knowledge Graph on businesses. First, people need to get used to what they are seeing and figure out if it’s a help.


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