Why is Google Reworking its Search Tool AGAIN?

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reworking its search tool yet again as it carves out a chunk of its results page for its “Knowledge Graph,” a tool that offers an encyclopedia-like package in response to a user’s query.

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“This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do,” Google said in a blog post announcing the new feature.

The offering, which bares more than a passing resemblance to Wikipedia, is meant to encourage users to spend more time on Google. A large block to the right of search results will contain biographical and contextual information for the search subject.

But more than that, the Knowledge Graph will parse results to get at what users “really mean.” For instance, it may try to anticipate whether someone searching “Kansas” is looking for the U.S. state or the band. In the “see results about” section on the right side of the page, users will be able to choose what they mean to narrow their search.

Taking another cue from Wikipedia, Google will allow users to flag content they believe to be incorrect, allowing a truly interactive and evolving interface.

Google will unroll the Knowlede Graph across its English-language sites this week, including on mobile ones. Google has already begun testing on small samples of users.

Looking at Google’s screencaps, which it shared in its blog post Wednesday, one notes that the Knowledge Graph appears where the company’s ads usually appear. AdWords has been Google’s bread and butter until now, and one is left to wonder what the company has done with the lucrative search-related ads. Will Google resort to simply using those ads that appear directly above the regular search results, while doing away with those in the right margin?

Google’s changes seem calculated to get people to spend more time on the page, making it more like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), where users reportedly spend an average of 18 minutes per visit. Of course, that is not to say Google hasn’t discovered a way to monetize its new offering. Search results, if personalized based on location, could include a nearby restaurant called Kansas City Grill or an upcoming football game in the area against Kansas University.

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