By Eric Enge
Google’s Knowledge Graph is dynamically changing. We suspected as much as we saw changes during the Knowledge Box Showdown I published earlier this month.
For that reason, I personally redid 250 of the 3,086 queries we used in the study, to see what would happen. The results were interesting to say the least.
The TL;DR is that Google appears to be testing various possible direct answers to search queries. If the results are not to its liking, it is trying a different answer source, until user data tells them they have one that works.
In some cases, it decides it does not have a good enough answer and stops trying to show a knowledge box (aka answer box) altogether.
In this test, I took 250 queries that we used in our tests, 125 which previously returned no answer box, and 125 that did. In addition, of the 125 that did, I picked only the ones that returned step-by-step instructions. Each of these was retested, and I checked for:
- Did it return step-by-step instructions?
- Did it return a knowledge box other than step-by-step instructions?
- If yes, to 1 or 2, did it use the same website as a source as the first time we tested them?
For the ones that previously returned no answer box, if Google does now, I noted if the new result was in the form of step-by-step instructions, or some other type of knowledge box.
As in the original study, all of the searches were performed using voice queries on a phone. In this case, I used the Google App running on an iPhone 4.
For the 125 queries I tested that originally returned answer boxes, here is how it shook out:
I found that 75% of the tested items still show a step-by-step instruction result. …read more