I have heard people say that a major goal of number theory is to understand the absolute Galois group of the rational numbers $G = \mathrm{Gal}(\bar{\mathbb{Q}}/\mathbb{Q})$. What do people mean when they say this? The Kronecker-Weber theorem gives a good idea of what the abelianization of $G$ looks like. But in one of Richard Taylor's MSRI talks, Taylor said that he's never heard of anyone proposing a similar direct description of $G$ and that to understand $G$ one studies the representations of $G$.

I know that there is a strong interest in showing the Langlands reciprocity conjecture [Edit: What I had in mind in writing this is evidently Clozel's conjecture, not the Langlands reciprocity conjecture - see Kevin Buzzard's post below] - that $L$-functions attached to $\ell$-adic Galois representations coincide with $L$-functions attached to certain automorphic representations. And I've heard people refer to the Tannakian philosophy which I understand as (roughly speaking) asserting that $G$ is determined by all of its finite dimensional representations.

Here is a representation of $G$ understood not to be a representation of $G$ as an abstract group but as a group together with a labeling of some of the conjugacy classes of G by rational primes (the Frobenius elements)?

When people talk about "understanding $G$" do they mean proving [Edit: Clozel's conjecture] (in view of the Tannakian philosophy)? If not, what do they mean? If so, this conceptualization seems quite abstract to me. Is this what people mean when they say "understand $G$"? Can [Edit: Clozel's conjecture] be used to give more tangible statements about $G$?

Something that I have in mind as I write this is the inverse Galois problem (does every finite group occur as a Galois group of a normal extension of $\mathbb{Q}$?) and Gross' conjecture (mostly proven by now) that for each prime $p$ there exists a nonsolvable extension of $\mathbb{Q}$ ramified only at $p$. But I am open to and interested in other senses and respects in which one might "understand" $G$.