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According to your grandmother, over 96% of kids these days don't know their history and will be doomed to repeat it. Also, no one learns cursive anymore. There's not a whole lot that Google can do about the latter, but with a new search tool, they may be working on the former. Chrome and Search enthusiast Florian Kiersch posted screenshots of a new Knowledge Graph tool that automatically generates timelines of broad historical topics based on content from Wikipedia. The tool appears to be in the early stages of testing, and isn't publicly available.


knowledgegraph-timeline-2 timeline-2

Search for something like "World War I" and you'll be presented with a layered timeline above your main search results. On a desktop browser you can click and drag to navigate forward or backward in time, and scrolling up or down will allow you to "zoom" into a particular point. The larger each year is on the X-axis, the more small events will be identified. Then zoom out to see much larger-scale events, like the lifespans of individuals or even countries. Resting the cursor on any one entry will give you a photo and a brief paragraph of description along with an exact bracket on the timeline. Clicking the item will shift you to a new Google search, with a new timeline for that topic.

The interface is pretty rough at the moment, and it looks like the graphics in particular are a long way from completion, as they clash with Google's recent clean card-based aesthetic. Kiersch notes that if the timeline feature is added (which of course is not a certainty) it probably won't be within the next three months, at the very least. 

Source: Florian Kiersch (Video Link)

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Frank Barten

    That UI....It hurts..

    • http://tmblr.5crat.ch/ Scratch

      Functionality finished before implementing the final design

  • fredric

    It suddenly looks like the early years of Google -_-'

    • RajivSK

      Yes it seems the CSS for this page was found on some stone tablets, you can look it up in the history graph, when it becomes available.

      • fredric

        It actually makes for a great pun!

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  • emperor43

    if they figure a good UI for it this can be an incredible hit; if not it will still be a great feature

  • Fatty Bunter

    It seems more and more like Google is going to be able to directly compete with Watson. Except Google is everywhere, and Watson is one place

  • state-it

    Hey Naysayers...
    This is an interesting, different and (I think) unique take on digging into two different databases.

    I like it.

    So what it doesn't fit your aesthetic ideals so far. If it's adopted, I'm sure it will fit whatever prevalent eye-candy fashion is current at the time.

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    One of my concerns of these cards is that they are from outside sources, outside sources who's website you'd most likely have visited if Google didn't offer the card with immediate information. My thought would be is that these websites would see less hits and less traffic to their page, and thus less advertisement(or in Wikipedia's case, donations) revenue. Are they in some way compensated for this?

    • TBolt

      I guess you bring up a good point ... perhaps Google ought to pay some cash to whichever site makes it into the Google bubble. That would be a coveted goal for web operators & marketers.

  • NF

    World War 3? What?

  • http://www.franciscogalarraga.com Francisco Galárraga

    Looks useful to be honest. Maybe they can make it work like some sort of Drop Down Button functionality, like how Google Images highlight the image you selected (black background).

  • firesoul453

    I'd love to use it!

  • ac

    Yes, because when if you read it on Wikipedia, its unreliable user-generated content. But if Google says it then it must be true.