Google’s new Knowledge Graph adds ‘human touch’ to search

Googles new Knowledge Graph

Google’s new addition to its algorithm, Knowledge Graph, is set to add a ‘human touch’ to search results and provide instant answers to queries.

Googles new Knowledge Graph

Hailed as “the next generation of search”, Knowledge Graph works by using an intelligent model to understand and translate search queries into “real-world entities and their relationships to one another”. As Amit Singhal put it on yesterday’s Google blog: “things, not strings”.

Take, for example, the query “Taj Majal”, which has the potential to mean a variety of different things to different users. Knowledge Graph will use what it knows about the keywords in a broader, deeper way, to provide a more relevant result. Singhal explains:

“You might think of one of the world’s most beautiful monuments, or a Grammy Award-winning musician, or possibly even a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Or, depending on when you last ate, the nearest Indian restaurant.”

The feature will move away from simple keyword matching, and move towards matching places, people, ideas, history, art, landmarks, objects and whatever else correlates with the search phrase you have entered, in a more comprehensive way. It does this by utilising public information sources, like Wikipedia, Freebase, and the CIA World Factbook, and by drawing on the 3.5 billion facts it knows about the 500 million objects on its database. This means you’re more likely to get a targeted, local, relevant response to a potentially ambiguous query.

It will also read your mind.

Well, at least, anticipate your next question. For example, results for “Tom Cruise” will also include 37% of answers for the queries that then usually follow that particular search.

Knowledge Graph will initially only be available in the US, but will soon be rolled out across the world.

The ultimate goal, according to Singhal, is to be able to answer complex, specific (or even abstract) questions, such as: “What are the 10 deepest lakes in Africa?” and to develop a search engine that truly answers questions like a human being.

You can find out more about Knowledge Graph in this video:

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Small Business Marketing in Milton Keynes

We’re going to be regularly focusing on local Milton Keynes marketing strategies on the Ikroh blog from now on, to help local businesses – big and small – to get the best out of their local area. Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll be covering all aspects of online and offline marketing, and how to tie the two together, utilising the tools you already have as a company, and finding new ways to market (that don’t break your budget!)…

Milton Keynes is a great place to run a business, but for your company to survive and compete within your area, you need solid marketing skills and know how to put them into practice.

The first step is to identify your customer base, your targeted audience and your demographic.

Quite basically: Who are you selling to? Whose attention are you seeking? What kind of people are they and where can you find them?

You can work this out by looking at your current customers – their age, sex, socio-economic status, hobbies, interests and so on. In a broader, more abstract sense, you can also look at other aspects, such as their lifestyle (or the sort of lifestyle they aspire to) and what kind of things are important to them (eg: price, quality, availability, variety, uniqueness etc).

Does this list of customers match with your original perception of your target audience? If it’s the same, great. If it’s vastly different, or has small variations, then it’s time to work the reality into your assumptions. You also need to question why your actual customer base is different to the one you’re targeting – it’s fine to get a bonus audience that’s separate from your main one, but if it’s a case of your actual marketing and targeting going astray, then perhaps it’s time to reassess your plans.

Finally, how are your customers finding you, and where are you reaching them? Determine the most effective marketing medium you currently have, and try out new ways to target your audience, from newspapers to print ads, websites to social media – even sponsoring a Milton Keynes roundabout! Of course, the cheapest (and often the most effective) form of marketing is online, and this is something we’ll be looking at in more depth in other posts. Local online marketing is a great tool to have, and can help your Milton Keynes business to grow and expand, even if times are hard in the retail world.

Follow our series of posts on small business marketing in Milton Keynes for more tips, methods and marketing strategies – or get in contact with us at Ikroh for personalised help in boosting your business and becoming successful online.

 

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

The Future of Larry Page’s Google

Larry Page

Larry Page

It’s been just over a year since Larry Page took over as CEO of Google. The obvious landmark since his new position is Google +, and though the jury still seems to be out about the new(ish) social platform, the numbers show that it has the capability to stand against the big G’s arch nemesis, Facebook. (Did anyone else just visualise Zuckerburg slowly turning around in a leather swivel chair, stroking a big F sign? Just me? Ok.)

Google is the king of search, it leads the way in online advertising, it has made YouTube the most important multimedia platform on the internet, and then along comes G+, a social network that Page is determined to see come to fruition for the company. You can’t deny the fact that Page has moved Google in a new direction since April 2011, bringing focus and consolidation to a company in danger of succumbing to its own bureaucracy, but behind the pluses, is there a minus sign?

The shift from the ‘holy trinity’ of Eric Schmidt and founding partners Larry Page and Sergey Brin to just one man, Page, marked a tangible change in ethos that had possibly happened a long time ago. In Google’s teenage years, it was a company for the people, an innovation factory, a sort of coded up Willy Wonka if you will. Now, it has the kind of power that makes governments nervous. But it can be argued that a single front man is what the company needed to avoid a gradual implosion, and Page seems to be paving the way with confidence and determination, as a figurehead who knows what he wants, and is prepared to shake things up to get it.

In his years at Google, Page has already shown a knack for canny development – he was behind the Android acquisition in 2004, and seemingly as a response to litigation from Apple and other competitors, led Google to purchase Motorola Mobility. What he plans on doing with the mobile company and its 200,000 employees is yet to be revealed, but you can bet the decision was not made on a whim. The co-founder has a particular vision, and if this year has shown anything, it is that he isn’t prepared to wait for things to just happen.

Upon his takeover, Page believed Google was its own enemy, in danger of stagnating, or becoming complacent – it’s lonely up there at the top, after all. There was (is) also the very real threat of Facebook’s social dominance. Just this week Sergey Brin was quoted criticising Zuckerburg’s baby by comparing it to government censorship. It’s fairly transparent, however, that the real issue lies with the amount of Facebook data still not made available to Google spiders – a substantial stumbling block for ultimate Google supremacy: “There’s a lot to be lost,” Brin complains, “For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can’t search it.”

Google might have a big chunk of the internet’s data, but Facebook has the people. Social media is the last bastion, and time and time again, the search giant has been turned away at the door. So it’s no surprise that focus for this year has been firmly on Google +. Page moved his office to the social department, and employees were informed their bonuses depended on the success of the platform – Larry didn’t just want a competitor to Facebook, he wanted to implement social into the very DNA of Google.

So far, G+ has a 500 million-strong membership, and is the most successful social product for the company to date. It also feels as if it’s still very much in the development stage – the first step of a social transformation that Page has planned. But it still remains a little indefinable: Is it different to Facebook? Kinda. Is it better? Well, it’s … kinda … different. Oh, oh, it has “circles”, that’s new, right?

Steven Levy at Wired.co.uk sums it up nicely:

“The concept is that when all the pieces of Google — Search, Gmail, Docs, Maps and so on — make use of what the company knows about you, it can serve you a lot better. This makes a lot of sense, but it’s a tricky thing to execute. People are accustomed using Google products individually. Suddenly being forced to take in the Google experience in one big chunk can be jarring — and scary.”

G+’s selling points were predominantly based around privacy, personalisation and flexibility, playing on the recent (and recurrent) distrust of Facebook’s covert privacy adjustments. And yet, whatever misgivings Facebook users have over how their data is collected and used, they’re not going anywhere fast. In contrast, Page had to weather the storm through the roll out of social search, and the changes to Google’s privacy policies in May last year, which were far wider criticised than, for example, the switch to Timeline. Perhaps the problem lies with the sheer omniscience of Google, and how it uses its data attribution – the ads on your Gmail sidebars echo your personal correspondence, your search results and maps know exactly where you are…  All these things are making it easier for users, sure, but you have to admit it’s a little bit creepy at the same time.

Just last month James Whittaker, previous Google employee, blogged about why he left the company for Microsoft. His reasons were based around how the company has changed over the years, and a big part of that has been the quest for social domination. Whittaker explains:

Officially, Google declared that “sharing is broken on the web” and nothing but the full force of our collective minds around Google+ could fix it.

As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.”

What do you think? Is Whittaker right? Or will Page succeed in pushing Google into a new era and transform the company from search to social? If the last year is anything to go by, Google hasn’t lost its passion, but has it lost its soul?

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Hard Drive Failure and Disposal

hard drive failure and disposal

Thousands of old computers are thrown away every year, and most of the time important and personal data is still on board, potentially putting you (and your business) at risk. So if your old PC or laptop has seen better days, what do you do? Throw it in the bin? Smash it to pieces? Send it into space? Well, to start with computers need to be disposed of in the correct way, and, um, none of those options are right. The other important consideration to take into account is whether the machine has completely erased of all data. It is no good just hitting delete and then emptying the recycle bin. It’s all to easy for people with the right knowledge to retrieve data stored on old hard drives.

Any data stored on your computer’s hard drive can potentially be retrieved unless it is permanently deleted. There are programs that can do this but please make sure that you use an official program to delete this information as there are many fake programs that will copy the information rather than delete it. A recent BBC programme tested a variety of fun ways to destroy their old hard drives, from putting it in a toaster to driving over it with a tractor. Some of the methods were fairly extreme, but less than half of the tests completely destroyed the data!

hard drive failure and disposal

Hard drive failure is another issue that can really cause problems for business and private users. We store so much essential information on our hard disk drives, whether it be pictures of your children growing up or all your business files – backing up your information on a regular basis is vital. There are several backup options from external hard drives to cloud storage. Research the options that best suit your needs and make yourself reminders on your calendar to back up regularly.

Don’t be complacent when it comes to the data on your hard drive – especially if you use your computer for business. Keep your information safe, keep it backed up and ensure you delete your data securely when it comes to disposing of your computer.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Using SEO and PPC for your Business

SEO Milton Keynes

Any kind of internet marketing needs to be factored into your business plan, tracked, analysed and adapted as necessary. Search Engine Optimisation and Pay Per Click Advertising are no exception and should be considered as an investment and offer you a measurable return on your capital – but how does it all work?

Prior to any campaign, keywords will be researched and suggested to make sure they are worth targeting. The search volume of each keyword or phrase is analysed, and using data and experience from previous campaigns, the expected ROI (return on investment) is worked out for each type of campaign. There are two main types of search advertising: natural search and paid search. Natural search comes under the title of search engine optimisation, where your ranking in search results is optimised from within your website and using content and coding. Paid search is generally pay per click advertising, using select phrases in ads that appear at the top of search results. Lost? Don’t worry, most companies employ search engine optimisation specialists to do all this for them.

SEO Milton Keynes

The team here at IKROH are SEO specialists, and we deal with all the technical stuff, leaving you to concentrate on the daily running of your business. Our aim is to make sure that your investment works for you and that your company will clearly see the financial benefits. The formula we use is simple (well, simple to geeks like us): we use your projected profit-per-transaction, and our knowledge and experience of the conversion rate. We then take a percentage of the overall search volumes for each keyword or phrase. Once we have worked out the numbers we can give our clients a realistic idea of the return on investment – and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

As a company, IKROH is unique within the UK – we tend to do things a little differently than our competitors. Ethical and down-to-earth business is the key to our success. Let me explain: we  only take on clients if they are not competitors to our current clients. So, for example, if you are a car hire company in Milton Keynes, you wouldn’t want us to also work with one of your competitors, improving their search ranking alongside yours. To us this seems unethical, and although it might be advantageous for us, it’s not in the interests of our clients. We never share information about any of our clients’ marketing activity or their company policies that are not already public knowledge – even in conversation. This is a big one that feels terribly unprofessional to us, but something you see on every commuter train every day, with businesspeople openly discussing information that should not be in the public domain.

So whether you’re a local Milton Keynes business looking for marketing help, or a national or international company wanting to boost your search ranking, book a meeting with us for friendly, realistic SEO advice.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.