Oakeshott and the Knowledge Graph – a case of not quite all the usual suspects

In May, 2012, Google announced its Knowledge Graph feature, the most visible aspect of which is a summary of the major information that Google “knows” about your topic of interest, plus the most popular related search topics.

In the results for Michael Oakeshott, the related searches have a decidedly American and twentieth-century tinge, and suggest that interest in Oakeshott (at least in the United States) is still heavily, although not entirely, centred on his “conservatism”.

Depending on the width of your browser, you may see the top three or five related searches. The top three are:

  • Leo Strauss
  • Eric Voegelin
  • Edmund Burke

Viewers with wider browser windows will see, in addition:

  • R.G. Collingwood
  • Paul Franco

It is no great surprise to see the prominence of Paul Franco, since links about his introductory book on Oakeshott have ranked highly for several years. But it is interesting to see Collingwood make the cut while Thomas Hobbes does not.

The Knowledge Graph does not yet seem to have been deployed to Google’s non-US sites. Hence, it is too soon to say whether this pattern of results is a global trend or confined to the US. Watch this space!

Update, 8th July, 2012: One week on, Paul Franco is out of the top five and Isaiah Berlin has taken his place (although Franco’s book still gets a guernsey, as usual).

Update, 27th July, 2012: Now Voegelin has gone, while Paul Franco has come back