New Google search tool is a work in progress

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New Google search tool is a work in progress

Google Korea yesterday debuted a localized version of its Knowledge Graph, a new search engine system unveiled in the United States last May.

The Knowledge Graph goes beyond just showing the list of Web pages based on search keywords. The user can see a variety of information about the subject of search, including photos and related keywords on the right side of the screen. The panel appears lower in the results on smartphones.

The launch of the service is mainly targeted at Koreans using the Korean language to search, but the English version also became available in the country along with the Korean version.

“Existing search engines, including Google, stopped short of automatically showing the documents that included the search keyword,” said Ted Cho, president of Google Korea. “The Knowledge Graph is trying to systematically compile data and organically link and understand them, overcoming the limitations of keyword searches.”

Google’s semantic network contains more than 570 million objects and 18 billion facts about each.

However, it seems the service has a long way to go before it can be fully trusted. For example, type in late President “Roh Moo-hyun” in Korean. Alongside his mug shot, there is brief information about him excerpted from Wikipedia and a section that includes a statement that he died on May 23, 2009 - in Busan. In actuality, he committed suicide in Bongha Village, Gimhae, South Gyeongsang.

Enter “Kim Jung-eun” in Korean, and the panel shows the Korean actress, not the North Korean leader, who has become one of world’s most famous people. Although the two figures have different English spellings, the Korean spelling and pronunciation are identical.

Google’s response is that the new search system is not engineered to “artificially expose specific issues, reflecting their current popularity, but is meant to offer the results by applying Google’s automatic algorithm that links information on the Internet.” That means the results may differ from time to time. Cho added that the glitches will be “fixed very shortly.”

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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