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New look "Google Knowledge" replaces results with content



2:33 pm on Dec 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

I'm seeing some search results that are displaying Google Knowledge instead of search results. The results page has the typical 3 ads up top but underneath that is the actual content from the top ranked sites posted right onto the results page. A traditional result has typically been a link using the page title as anchor text followed by a description however these new results have NO link and NO title and simply display the relevant content directly on the page.

There are 3 of these results above the fold for most searches, they are expanded in size to show more data than a typical description, resulting in zero traditional results visible. Google does give credit to the site from which the content was taken in the form of a "results from example.com" link at the bottom of each entry but the size of this line is tiny and the coloring is a very faint grey so as not to stick out at all.

The width of the main area seems to have been expanded as well, shrinking down the sidebar area where "Google Knowledge" was originally appearing. Also, the information displayed is not generated by page descriptions, it is the actual on page content with bullet lists and all.

If content from our sites is placed directly on Google I feel that this will have a huge negative impact in terms of how much actual traffic Google will send to our sites.


12:04 am on Dec 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Probably they have agreements and make some sponsorships to Wikipedia, i do not think they are not covered by law.

Donate and contribute to Wiki and Google will benefit from ads using their(your) contribution.


2:30 am on Dec 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Public domain" is a legal term associated with copyright law. It has nothing to do with availability, distribution, accessibility or similar.

To a search engine, where its defined purpose is to help navigate end users to specific websites, the use of snippets can be described as fair use even if that snippet provides a short and concise answer where attribution is supplied. Google has a history of treating everything as public domain, which is not specifically blocked, and uses it in such a manner that limits individuals from visiting the origin website. Google Images comes to mind, and I'm sure there are a few around here that will have their own opinions on that subject. Knowledge Graph is no different as I believe it will morph into another content grab by Google.

Regardless of what a search engine may or may not display, their intent is the core issue I have a problem with. While all outbound links on their search page are blue, why has Google chosen to use a more subtle gray? Will it increase the ctr to the websites where the information originated from? No. It's intended to use the content of another to keep people on a Google property. What's next, a 1px attribution link?


5:45 pm on Dec 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

About "public domain":

Public domain is the default. In other words, anything that isn't explicitly protected by copyright is in the public domain.

For a real-life example of how this works, I'll use my favorite recipe for Reine de Saba or "Queen of Sheba" cake. A list of ingredients and a procedure for assembling them isn't protected by copyright, but Julia Child's written description of how to make the cake in Mastering the Art of French Cooking is protected by copyright. In other words, it isn't the recipe that's protected, it's the creative work that includes that recipe.


6:35 pm on Dec 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Knowledge graph, a few ads, a page with Facebook, one with Twitter, one with Pinterest, one with Youtube .. how ..

Is harder to compete.


10:51 am on Dec 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

In other words, anything that isn't explicitly protected by copyright is in the public domain.

Whether the work is copyrighted or public domain does not really apply to Google. One need look no further than the Google Books project to see how US law fails to protect authors. The US Judge ruled it was fair use for Google to scan entire books and display snippets of text to allow them to be searched for/found online.

The US Judge did rule that displaying snippets is "transoformative" and permitted under fair use guidelines. In other words, Google can pretty much do whatever they want with whatever text you create online and in print, providing they display snippets. The Adwords revenue Google earns from those searching through these copyrighted works is theirs to keep alone.

As I said previously, the only way to protect your content from Google is to block them from it. Granted, most of the information displayed online is rubbish, but those who do invest heavily into creating professionally written content have legitimate concerns as to how Google will monetize their work.


1:33 pm on Dec 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I guess the day is not far away when Google tries something very similar to Google images. What they do now is just a "thumbnail" start by them in the factual content space.


2:59 pm on Dec 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Lifting long passages of text verbatim is almost certainly a copyright violation. Yes, you can republish facts, but in your own words.

As for fair use, in high level terms, that's for situations such as criticism/review, reporting, research. Like:
- a reporter reading "verbatim text" from your homepage in the context of a story about your site.
- a website publishing information about a government recall using a product picture from a manufacturer's website.

It's not fair use to just lift someone else's content for use in your main revenue driving product.

Google is free to do whatever they want with Wikipedia content, as Wikipedia's license allows anyone to do so.


3:06 pm on Dec 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The US Judge did rule that displaying snippets is "transoformative" and permitted under fair use guidelines.

Again: Facts, data, and ideas aren't protected by copyright. Whether the Knowledge Graph is "transformative" doesn't come into play, at least for the Knowledge Graph examples that I've seen.

Many site owners have the naive idea that they (and only they) have the right to display raw information that's in the public domain. If they find the symptoms of a cold on CDC.gov or WebMD and list those symptoms on their pages, it's OK, but if Google does it, it's a sin. Sorry, folks, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander--and copyright law is what it is, not what you might want it to be.


3:30 pm on Dec 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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copyright law is what it is, not what you might want it to be.

Some of us aren't talking about content that originated in the public domain...we're talking about content that is wholly original.

In the same vein, "Fair Use" is what it is, and not what you want it to be. Straight from the copyright office:

Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.

The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
-The nature of the copyrighted work
-The amount and substantiality of the portion used in -relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
-The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

At some point, G will "knowledge graph" somebody with deep pockets, and this will get settled.
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