Google was awarded a new patent on December 15, 2020, for “Contextually Relevant Knowledge Panels in an Application Environment.” The patent describes the ability to analyze the text in an app, like a word processor, and then display contextually relevant content via a knowledge panel. The knowledge panel could then be used for research, adding content to the document, watching videos, and even making purchases.
The patent included illustrations showing how the knowledge panel might appear in a document. It stated that “users can be given the ability to drag and drop to insert information from a knowledge panel into a document being authored, in the form of text, images, video, graphics, or hyperlinks.”
Google integrating elements of its search engine into other apps is reminiscent of Apple’s search strategy. Apple has a search engine, but not a conventional one. Instead of having a standalone search engine like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and others, Apple has integrated theirs into operating systems and native apps. It appears that Google is doing the same thing, starting with Google Docs.
Adding the knowledge panel to apps also serves as an additional channel for Google to serve ads. In the patent, they described the ability to display items that could be bought.
Content can also include a reference to a related book available for purchase (with an embedded Buy button), a news article, or a hyperlink to relevant content.Inventors: Timo Mertens and Robin Dua, Patent No.: US10,867,122B1, Contextually Relevant Knowledge Panels in an Application Environment
Google Docs supports this feature now. It can be accessed by clicking on Tools > Explore in the menu.
Just as it’s described in the patent, users can search topic and insert content into the document.