Google Testing or Rolling Out Sources Results? (UPDATED)

Google is giving us more and more information within the SERPS which makes that we don’t need to be clicking on results anymore or we get many different kind of results to choose from. It is a matter of time before Google is actually answering the questions we are putting up into our search bar.

As a matter of fact, I am now seeing some results which do just that: giving us semantic results in the right navigation of Google. Specific searches are giving me specific answers. The interesting part is that it is only showing it to me on Google.co.uk and they log me out.

Take a look at these searches I did:

If I do a search for “England Football Team” on the right side I get information coming from Wikipedia about the national team as well as an image from the Telegraph.

Even more interesting however is the search for “hot fuzz director” (Alex Moss first did this search, he saw the results on the left, not on the right):

I am getting a straight answer: its Edgar Wright. But not just that. It shows me information from wikipedia on the right, but it also shows me movies related to Wright and what other people have searched for!

In the search results the first result is the answer which has a “show details” link underneath it. Clicking on that link gives me even more information:

This is pretty nicely made and it gives me all the information I need so it seems. But on the other hand it is pushing down all ‘regular’ results.

Not logged in

There is another weird thing. I usually search on Google.com. When I do the searches there (both logged in and logged out) I am not getting these results. But when logged in and I switch to Google.co.uk, Google logs me out. When I then sign in, the results are still there.

Anyone else seeing this?

Update

In the mean time there are more people who have been seeing these tests. Searchengineland reports on it showing a lot more examples and has a quote from Google saying:

“We’re always experimenting with ways to improve search, but we have nothing to announce at this time.”

Danny Sullivan there also refers to the Wall Street Journal article which hinted on Google being changed and giving more direct answers in the search results. It is similar to what the WSJ describes, but they were reporting on it as if this was something new, which it clearly isn’t, Google has been doing stuff like this for a while.

The tests are more, like Barry points out in the comments, “entity search”, or a reference to sources, something which was tested before in November.

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

34 thoughts on “Google Testing or Rolling Out Sources Results? (UPDATED)

  1. I’m sure most users find these helpful. However if you’re a website that offers news & information about, for example, the England football team, you might feel a little bit shafted.

  2. Also I think it’s more accurate to refer to this functionality as ‘entity search’ rather than semantic search, as the latter is much broader than just these onebox enhancements.

  3. It does seem like rather than ‘organise the internet’ their vision is changing into ‘be the frontend to the internet’. 

    Their efforts to turn the machine for delivering results into the very results they should be delivering is not a smart or useful move imo. Do we really want one single, bland, homogenous source for all information?  

  4. your getting more stickied to the Google UI. Same for the cinema listings. You can actually see what time a movie is running in a theatre near you.

  5. Could this be connected with the Delegated authority evaluation system ? – http://www.google.co.uk/patents/US7844610 with Google using trusted sources for the answers to questions asked.

    The Edgar Write example also happens when you type in to Google “Nameofupcomingfilm Release Date”
    ie. “Great Gatsby Release Date”

  6. there are a lot of sites like timeanddate.com and also newspaper sites that lost a lot of traffic when Google started showing time/weather in results, I assume IMDB and those types of sites would take a similar hit as users have less reasons to visit if they can get it straight from the SERPs

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