google now nexus 5

Google’s biggest product is a search engine, but Google doesn’t want to offer you search results, it wants to offer answers. That’s the motivation behind Knowledge Graph, Google’s initiative to amass, analyze, and present millions of facts about the world, as well as Google Now, the virtual assistant that’s been shipping with Android since Jelly Bean.

But Knowledge Graph, a crowdsourced, “human-powered” database, can only dig so deep. There are simply too many entities (persons, companies, cities, animals, etc.) and relationships between them for a team of humans to be able to turn into a comprehensive knowledge base. So Google is taking the concept a step forward by turning to what it does best – algorithms.

A report in New Scientist describes for the first time Google’s algorithm-driven effort to understand the world, Knowledge Vault.

Knowledge Vault identifies facts and relationships between them, the way a human would, but on a larger scale and much faster

Knowledge Vault is the “the largest repository of automatically extracted structured knowledge on the planet,” according to Google researcher Kevin Murphy. Knowledge Vault uses machine learning to identify facts and the relationships between them, the way a human would, but on a much larger scale and much, much faster.

Supported by Google’s massive server infrastructure, Knowledge Vault algorithms scan billions of pages, documents, tables, and database entries, and fact check the information they collect. Eventually, each “fact” gets a reliability score, and when the score is larger than 90 percent, the fact is deemed “confident.” Currently, the Vault contains 271 million “confident facts,” out of a total of 1.6 billion.

While Knowledge Graph simply amasses facts from various sources, Knowledge Vault collects those facts itself, by scanning the web and attempting to understand it. And the more it learns, the better it gets at answering queries.

Knowledge Vault could become one of the sources where Google Now draws its info from. The service can currently offer answers to many common questions, like “what’s the weather in Paris?” But thanks to Knowledge Vault and other developments in machine learning, voice recognition, and AI, Google Now could finally become the human-like virtual assistant we’ve been dreaming about for so long.

Google Research will present a paper on Knowledge Vault at a conference in New York on August 25. More details about the project are likely to be released soon.

Bogdan Petrovan
Bogdan is the European Managing Editor of Android Authority. He loves tech, travel, and fantasy. He wishes he had more time for two of those things. Bogdan's phone is a Nexus 6P.
  • MasterMuffin

    And soon it will control the world! :)

  • Shark Bait

    seems like the last 22 years learning things have gone to waste!

    On a side note it seems odd that computers create Wikipedia articles from databases, not google is scanning these articles and putting them back into a data base

  • Mel

    What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything? Or maybe should ask what is the ultimate question:)

  • JRE


  • AbbyZFresh

    no humans involved?

    That’s the first round of human jobs lost.

  • Anselmo

    I wonder if I can ask the oldest question in the universe, hidden in plain sight. Doctor who?

  • stucrmnx120fshwf

    Once again it seems core and side knowledge might get confused, long ago there was a real world database being compiled. The aim of the project, was to make a base of things and inferences from normal life. Things we all take for granted, a computer is after all a fast idiot, while a human is a slow genius. Humans will get things in context, even a child knows the obvious, where a computer just won’t get it. Google ought to buy that database and offer it for use on every phone, tablet, so that the simple device will have some context even without having to refer to the internet. Memories have soared, 128 GB of flash is just $40, retail, $7 wholesale, at USB 3 speed, with 64 bit, phablets will be able to reference so much more, 6 GB of RAM at LPDDR4 speeds, through 8 cores.

    For fun, I’ll rattle on, having some real world knowledge, is not going to make it a fast genius, but medium speed, moderate insight. If we look at some recent developments, we’re giving these devices better instincts. Recent Motorola smartphones, have included 4 main processors, 2 CPUs, a voice and a context processor. In Tango we see good specs and sensors, allowing the device to develop a picture of its surroundings. Large numbers of GPUs, which are just physics simulators, further improve a devices understanding of its context. Sensor and screen resolutions, mean that the environment around the say, tablet aren’t just vague. If we are recording in UHD for example and or glasses free, vision correction 3D, then the barriers between device and observer are that much lower.

    At this point, I’d like to say, we have to separate good contextual awareness, for the system from self confusing over complexity. The reason sales of mobile devices, have been so much more successful than desktops, is that in the past they have divided things better. Core operating system, core apps, an apps ecosystem, services over the internet. Keep the device instinctive, trying to be all things to all people, could be the road to disaster, project butter was very successful, in its fist 2 versions, Jelly Bean 1 and 2, in increasing speed and reliability. Even when you hibernate and defragment a desktop, with a couple of terabytes of HDD, 120 GB of flash, 32 GB of RAM. Self confusion reigns supreme, it seems to do less than a mobile device, requires more work, more maintenance, more hardware, more software, yet doesn’t do the simplest of tasks, quite often.

    So focus, core elements are worth spending billions on, to get right, function creep is a danger, at 64 bit the desktop became bloatware, self defeating. Hate to see us blow the gains of UHD, 64 bit, memory and GPU speed/capacity ramp up, during the tech wreck, no one wanted to upgrade. They sensed that they were in a sweet spot, that the next generation was less rather than more reliable, slower, not faster. He, He, lol, JRE, Skynet.

  • John Doe

    A few years ago, Google was touting a system that could tell farmers when to plant seeds based on several data points, but we have yet to see it … maybe this next announcement is just what farmers (etc..) around the world are waiting for?? cause asking stupid questions like ‘what is the weather like in Paris?’ does not make Google Now the next big thing!

  • nilbud

    So as always it comes down to discernment. If you could spam the googlebrain with the idea that kids are really into minecraft that could then persuade Microsoft that it was worth $2.5Bn. Perhaps some Korean cartoon character is going to be the new Mickey Mouse.