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The Semantic Web & Google Now

DBS Interactive

We’ve referenced the semantic web several times in the past, and how its creation will forever alter our experience with the Internet. Within the past year, Google has made significant strides in making the future of search a thing of the present.

Available as a mobile application for both the Android and iOS operating systems, “Google Now” operates as an intelligent personal assistant – predicting and delivering the information that it believes is relevant to your needs, interests and current condition.

How It Works


Google Now uses an individual’s search habits, repeated actions and Google’s Knowledge Graph to display relevant information in the form of “cards.” Google Now syncs with a variety of Google programs to mine the information that it displays in the cards including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Places, and Google News. The cards are categorized into a number of functions:

  • Activity Summary – Shows how far you’ve walked or cycled in the past month.
  • Appointments – When you have an appointment, Google will check traffic and update you on how long it will take for you to get there. This only works if Now is synced with calendars and your current location.
  • Weather – Get updated on the weather for where you currently are or where you will be traveling in the near future.
  • Flights – Get real time flight status and traffic information to the airport.
  • Hotels – Learn to navigate toward your hotel when arriving in a new city and learn when you need to checkout.
  • Restaurant Reservations – Be reminded of restaurant reservations and when you should leave to make them.
  • Events – Show events you’ve bought tickets for.
  • Packages – Manage online orders and track the status of packages.
  • Birthdays – Never forget important birthdays.
  • Places – Recommends places, bars, restaurants, and places of interests based on your current location.
  • Public Transit – Learn of public transit schedules and locations.
  • Stocks – Get real time information on stocks that you track.
  • Sports – Keep updated on your favorite sports teams or buy tickets to the next big game.
  • Research Topics/News – Get suggestions to interesting web pages and news articles based on your past searches.

Third-Party Integration


More recently, Google has gotten in the business of syncing their knowledge graph with the knowledge graphs of other websites. Partnerships with Zillow, Fandango, and some airlines have expanded Google Now into the categories of Real Estate and Movies.

  • Zillow – See nearby real estate listings based on your past search history and current location.
  • Fandango – See movie tickets you’ve recently purchased and when you need to leave to make the show time.
  • Boarding Pass – United Airlines and a limited number of other airlines support flight and boarding pass integration.

We would expect to see Google add to this list of third party websites in the near future. It does make one think though how these new partnerships will influence websites’ privacy policies. Although we’re sure Zillow discloses this information in their privacy policy, I doubt many are aware that this information is being shared.

As a business, it may also lead to you asking the question whether there is an opportunity for your business to integrate with Google.