Google researcher targets Web's structured data

A Google researcher described the company's ongoing investigations into searching structured data during a talk Friday.

Internet search engines have focused largely on crawling text on Web pages, but Google is knee-deep in research about how to analyze and organize structured data, a company scientist said Friday.

"There's a lot of structured data out on the Web and we're not doing a good job of presenting it to our users," said Alon Halevy during a talk at the New England Database Day conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Halevy was referring in part to so-called "deep Web" sources, such as the databases that sit behind form-driven Web sites like Cars.com or Realtor.com. Google has been submitting queries to various forms for some time, retrieving the resulting Web pages and including them in its search index if the information looks useful.

But the company also wants to analyze the data found in structured tables on many Web sites, Halevy said, offering as an example a table on a Web page that lists the U.S. presidents.

And there are reams of those tables -- Google's index turned up 14 billion of them, according to Halevy. He "realized very quickly that over 98 percent of these are not that interesting," but even after significant filtering there remain about 154 million tables worth indexing, he said.

One of Google's ultimate goals is to provide results that organize "aspects" of a search query, particularly an exploratory one such as "Vietnam travel," as opposed to a query for a specific fact such as "Vietnam population," Halevy said. The former query would produce information about visa requirements, weather and tour packages, for example.

The idea has echoes of the search service offered by Kosmix, but Google wants to go further, according to Halevy. "Kosmix will give you an 'aspect,' but it's attached to an information source," he said.

Searching for "Vietnam travel" on Kosmix gives an organized set of results including restaurant reviews from the New York Times, images from Yahoo and Flickr, shopping information from Shopping.com and general Web results from Google.

"In our case, all the aspects might be just Web search results, but we'd organize them differently," Halevy said.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags structured data

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?