Google Making Major Changes to Search Results

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has announced it will begin highlighting the search results that best answer a user's query. It represents a whole new approach for the ubiquitous search firm.

In recent years, Google has focused on trying to answer a user's query quickly rather than providing them with the website that best answers their question.

(That was partly a response to Microsoft's launching of Bing, which that firm promoted as a "decision engine" rather than a search tool.)

The best example of Google's focus on speed over quality: Google Knowledge Graph, the box that appears on the right of the results page when you search for particular topics, such as people or places. The box lists key facts, including a person's date of birth, or the street address of a place.

The idea behind Knowledge Graph was to help search users quickly and efficiently answer a question. The Knowledge Graph details are designed to give the answer without the user having to visit any of the pages in the search results listing.

New Google Feature Emphasises Longer Articles

But Google now appears ready to use a very different tactic. It will begin adding an "in-depth articles" box that lists several results relating to the search topic.

Unlike the main results list, these in-depth articles won't be the results Google's ranking system considers the most relevant. Instead, they'll be hand-picked links that go to a particularly credible source covering a topic in detail.

For example, someone searching for information about online censorship might be offered links to articles in The New Yorker, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal -- rather than just Wikipedia.

In-Depth Feature Presents Users with "Thoughtful" Content

According to Pandu Nayak, a search quality expert at Google, the box will feature "thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication," and may include articles from lesser-known sources and blogs. (Source:

The new feature could have two important effects. First, it may prompt publishers to deliberately write articles in the hope of getting in the in-depth box, thereby gaining long-term exposure to search users.

Second, it could lead to controversy if Google is accused of picking in-depth results that lean towards one side of a contentious issue. (Source:

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