Google’s Knowledge Graph is quickly becoming one of the key features of the company’s search engine, and the company added yet another area of information to the project. Starting now, users who search for medications will see a box with key facts about them in the right-hand sidebar of Google Search. This data, Google says, comes from the U.S. FDA, the National Library of Medicine, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, among a number of other vendors.
Google, of course, started displaying additional information about medicines in its regular search results through a cooperation with the National Institutes of Health’s Library of Medicine in 2010. Those results, however, just consisted of a short paragraph and links to lists of side effects, dietary instructions and other information. The new Knowledge Graph results, on the other hand, are much easier to read and also include key facts like side effects, pregnancy risk, drug class, and related medications, as well as links to in-depth resources. What’s missing in the new results, though, is a visual representation of what the drug actually looks like.
Today’s launch is another example of how Google continues to add more information to its Knowledge Graph project. When the project launched in May 2012, the company said that the Knowledge Graph held information about 500 million people, places and things and indexed over 3.5 billion attributes and connections between these things and people. We haven’t seen any updated numbers since then, but chances are the system has ingested quite a bit more information since.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...