Google is always adding little bells and whistles to its various platforms, and recently has been tweaking its mainstay, Search, pretty aggressively. The latest addition is the "Knowledge Graph," which will divine what you're really looking for and spit out a ton of relevant information.
Google describes Knowledge Graph as "a huge collection of the people, places and things in the world and how they're connected to one another." What's that mean? Well, that means Google's algorithm wants to know what you mean in real world terms. A search for "orange drinks" could give you any number of webpages relating to drinks that are colored orange or others that are flavored similarly, but it's up to Knowledge Graph to sort which you're actually looking for. Then, a panel off to the side of your search results will tell you all about orange juice or Tang, depending on which way the graph swings.
At first blush, the benefit to Knowledge Graph is that it'll help you navigate a topic without having to continually fine-tune your search terms. For instance, looking up Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (as seen in the video below) will bring up a panel with information on the painting from Wikipedia, as well as a whole bunch of things related to it, from other famous paintings to ways to learn more about da Vinci's contemporaries.
U.S. & World
The service is live for some and coming for others, but all visitors to Google should start seeing it "over the next few days," according to the company.
If you've got six minutes and you're curious, this video is still an interesting peek at why Google search has evolved the way it has (from Google's perspective).
In other Google news, the company just added a pretty slick research tool to Google Docs. Macworld's Joel Mathis does a good job with what it is and how to use it here.