Google is making a big change to how it displays results in its dominant search engine. It is rolling out a new feature called the Knowledge Graph which breaks from the traditional practice of matching keywords with webpages.
According to an article on Blog Tips about Google’s Knowledge Graph, immediate answers or “facts” from pre-selected sources like the CIA Factbook, Wikipedia, and the World Bank will be provided in search results along side the organic results:
Instead of using the typical search strength of a particular answer, this new feature will draw ‘facts’ from places like Wikipedia for historical information, CIA World Factbook for geopolitical answers, the World Bank for economic facts, Freebase for information about people and other predetermined sources.
This move by Google seems eerily similar to Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in that search results, or “answers and facts”, will no longer be gathered based on the algorithmic popularity of content, but rather selected by Google.
Sure, most would argue that Wikipedia does a pretty good job through its open-source format to nail down basic facts. However, the CIA and the World Bank are organizations with agendas sometimes counter to the truth, and making them the authority on facts gives them tremendous power to shape public knowledge.
Google also explains how it will collect data on you using the Knowledge Graph: