Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

With Facebook’s IPO just around the corner, the timing of Google’s latest press blitz should probably be regarded with a healthy dose of suspicion, but the unveiling of the Knowledge Graph is an important step in Google’s journey — and a reaffirmation of values diluted by recent dalliances in social networking. Writing for The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal perhaps describes it best;

“To me, this update is the epitome of what Google does best. The graph makes the process of Googling something faster, easier, and better. The corporate imperative to keep people searching on Google in the face of renewed competition matches up very nicely with consumers’ desires for the best, fastest search experience. That hasn’t always been the case with the company’s social search integration, so this update feels so refreshing. It’s like a friend in the midst of a midlife crisis returning the Porsche and embracing a trusty new four-door.”

(my emphasis)

Exactly. As I’ve written before, I strongly believe that semantic smarts should be hidden very, very deep, and that semantic technologies are at their best when they quietly and unobtrusively make some existing process better. That’s why I like TripIt so much. It gets travel plans into my calendar faster and more accurately than I could type them, and throws in a whole heap of added value as a byproduct of the data ingest process.

Google’s Knowledge Graph is similar; it works with existing search behaviour, and unobtrusively adds a little extra value.

It’s going to be fascinating to see which direction Google takes this capability, and my latest column for explores that in a little more detail.

Those (like me) based outside the US need to remember that none of this works on sites other than right now.

And if you’ve not seen Google’s introductory video, take a look.