Have you ever tried to teach an old dog a new trick? They say it's impossible, but things are different in the tech world. You might have already got used to Google's service the Knowledge Graph, which was introduced to the English-speaking part of the world in May. Now it is being employed to improve search possibilities in other languages too.
At the moment, this service is available in Russian, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. Speakers of these languages can now also enjoy semantically widened search results, including things not directly relevant to their search query. These search results give them additional information and answer follow-up questions before those are asked. The Knowledge Graph works automatically and you do not have to remember any key combinations or special words to enable it.
But this is not the only way to improve your search results. There are about 30 ways to do it, and those are already merged into Google search. I won't list all of them, I'll just touch upon some of the most interesting ones - those capable of enriching your experience together with the Knowledge Graph in some way.
To begin with, using quotes around the search query, which allows you to filter the search results by only including the exact word combination – these are mostly stored within the Knowledge Graph already. As is the case with e.g. historical figures or events, Google search provides filtered results in the first place, so there is no need for quotes around the phrase. However, it's not quite time to abandon quotes completely: they still prove themselves very handy in many other cases.
On to the next secret. Imagine a situation when you've found some general information about a person or event, but you want more. Imagine that you want to look for a certain kind of documents, for example PDF, about the historical figure in question. In this case, you can type something like 'filetype:pdf William the Conqueror', and this will get you links to PDF files relevant to your search.
And last but not least is a secret way to get more accurate results from the Knowledge Graph, which as you know includes about 570 million terms and has more that 18 billion associations between facts; and this secret way implies searching in date ranges or other non-specific numeric areas. To do this, you just need to put an ellipsis ('…') between known values. Your search will be narrowed down to the indicated period instead of a specific date.
To my mind, expanding the Knowledge Graph is a worthy move on Google's part. I enjoyed sifting through information on different events and places around the globe. I found these tricks useful for improving my search results, and I hope they'll help you too.