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Google just made some great changes to its search results page

Google search featured snippets

Google keeps moving farther and farther away from presenting you with a page of search results that’s mostly a collection of blue links, with a new update that continues an expansion of populating results with feature-rich cards and expandable tabs.

The search giant explained in a new blog post that automatically generated tabs are now going to pop up in search results that you can expand, and that include more details snippets of information as well as subtopics relevant to your search.

So for example, writes Google product manager Pierce Vollucci, say you’re remodeling a kitchen and want to know a bit about how quartz compares to granite for use in countertops. An old Google search might have simply populated the results page with links that explain, well, what quartz and granite are, which is of course not what you’re looking for.

“Chances are you’re hoping to learn more about the differences in cost, benefits, and durability of each, and may be looking for guidance on other subtopics to explore,” he writes. For these types of queries, we’re introducing a new way to get you to relevant information fast and help you get a glimpse of multiple aspects of a topic with a single search.”

Search for something like quartz vs. granite now, and what you’ll see is a panel with relevant subtopics to go deeper into. The blog post also uses the example of an “emergency fund,” where when you search for that you get information that relates to the size, purpose and importance of having one, and you can click links within those areas to learn more.

Google says the new format is meant to help guide you with what’s understood to be the most common, useful aspects of topics and help you sift through all the information available to deliver the most relevant results. In case you don’t see these more feature-rich search results yet, Google adds that the automatically generated panels are rolling out over the next few days, the latest in a series of improvements the company has been making to search — such as an update earlier this that included recognizing the deeper intent in what you’re searching for and showing you more “multifaceted featured snippets.”

“Sometimes the words we use to ask a question are broad and there could be several different interpretations of the question,” Google explained in a February post. “With multifaceted featured snippets, we’re able to better understand your query and recognize when there could be multiple interpretations of that query. In the example below with the query ‘garden needs full sun?’ we’re able to recognize that it could be interpreted as ‘what garden plants need full sun?’ or ‘what counts as full sun?’ and offer featured snippets for both.”

Image source: Google

Google goes on to note that it plans to expand these multifaceted featured snippets to cover an even broader set of nuanced questions beyond just what it describes as “multi-intent” search queries. The plan is also to keep experimenting with this over the course of the year to expand coverage.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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