|Follow on Twitter as @CadeMetz|
This, says Google, is how your Android smartphone will soon work, thanks to a new service called “Now on Tap.” An extension of the company’s Siri-like digital assistant, Google Now, the service will identify what’s happening on your phone and pull in related information from across the web. The service works by using machine learning algorithms to determine what you’re doing, then matches this understanding with information stored in what the company calls the Google Knowledge Graph—a database of semantic data describing more than 1 billion people, places, and things. “To be able assist you,” says Aparna Chennapragada, who oversees Google Now, “we have to understand the world.”
The Knowledge Graph isn’t just a database of stuff on the `net. It’s a database that provides context for stuff on the `net—that aims to comprehend what’s there in the same way a human would. In other words, Google doesn’t just “know” that the web contains pages that includes the words George Clooney. It “knows” that George Clooney is an actor here in the real world.
As the underpinning for Google Now, it works reasonably well—especially during tightly controlled demos on stage at Google’s annual developer conference. And thanks to the latest in artificial intelligence technology, which can automatically determine how words are related, it continues to improve.