Graph Database – An Intro

Image: NY Times

I bet many people use the term Google as synonym for Web Search. And we couldn’t undermine the fact that Google is going beyond mere Search of matching words.

Now, if I Google ICE-CREAM, it is giving me option of cup or waffle cone, flavors and the nearest location where I can enjoy a nice ice-cream; plus history of ice-cream and the not so good news of the calorie content. To visualize how Google is fetching the result, imagine the internet as one big humungous database and Google’s web crawlers spinning it’s web. Earlier they were only crawling, now they’re connecting. And CONTEXTUAL is the word that comes to your mind. But ever thought how do contextual work in search?

Life beyond tabular data:
The internet is too big a database, to understand better lets scale down. Imagine team members in a database, what do you see – a tabular data? Now if you’re the person who is creating this, you would have already defined the data structure, like Name, Role, Location, Project etc. etc. But it lacks flexibility and agility of today’s fast moving info.

From Mashable: “Relational databases are great if you’re storing tabular data. But surprisingly — or maybe not so surprisingly — much of the real world is not a table.“

Welcome Graph Database:
In Graph Database data are entered as Nodes and Relationship. And it turns out that graphs are a very intuitive way to represent relationships between data. Graph theory dates back to 1735, when Leonard Euler solved the Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem by devising a topology consisting of nodes and relationships.

From Neo4J: “A graph database stores data in a graph, the most generic of data structures, capable of elegantly representing any kind of data in a highly accessible way.”

Some of the best-known uses of graph databases include Google’s Knowledge Graph, Facebook’s Social Graph and Twitter’s Interest Graph.

Now the ICE-CREAM:
Coming back to the ICE-CREAM, ever wondered the journey of an ice-cream right from milking the cow to final payment at the check-out counter, it’s all NODES and RELATIONSHIPS.