Google announced a major change to the way that their search engine will handle your inquiries and serve results. Starting today for most U.S. users will be take advantage of Google's Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph is designed to search and serve results based on natural language. What this means is that it is trying to determine what it is that people really want when they enter a search term or phrase. For example, the Knowledge Graph recognizes the difference between someone using the word "oasis" to search for information about the band versus using "oasis" to search for information about patches of vegetation in a desert.
The search results now include summaries of key points in the links that are listed in your search results. The results page will include sections based on the different meanings of your search term. If you use the example of "oasis" again there is a section of links about the band and section about the geographic feature.
The video below features Google employees talking about the Knowledge Graph and what it means for your search experience.
Applications for Education
Google's Knowledge Graph could be very helpful in getting students to recognize the multiple meanings of their search terms. The Knowledge Graph could prove to be frustration-relieving for students who are struggling to find information relevant to their inquiries. That said, students should still be taught how to use the proper search terms and search modifiers. Combining proper search term usage with the new Knowledge Graph-based results should yield better results than if students just rely on "Google to do it for them."