Google puts its built-in encyclopedia front and centre in results

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Google has updated its search by integrating encyclopedia-style facts and figures directly into its results page, speeding up information gathering.

The update places results pulled from Google’s Knowledge Graph – a database containing encyclopaedia entries on about 570m concepts, relationships, facts and figures – under small popup information panels next to search results.

“To help you learn more about the websites you see in your search results, starting today you may see more information about them directly on the results page when you search on your desktop,” said Bart Niechwiej, a software engineer at Google in a blog post.

The panels are accessed through a small clickable link on the second line of applicable search results.

Could cause issues for website owners

While the update is likely to enhance search for individuals, it could cause issues for website owners who appear in search results with the added information panels.

“The popup adds up to three extra links to the search result that don’t go to your website,” explains Matt McGee, editor-in-chief of search specialist Search Engine Land. “If this becomes a popular feature with searchers, it could lead some to click away from the actual web page that Google included in its search results.”

Starting as a small trial, Google will continue to expand the number of sites that bring search results with Knowledge Graph entries attached.

The update builds on the biggest change to the search algorithm Google had made in three years, called “Hummingbird”, which focused on Knowledge Graph and natural language interpretation making the core search better at answering longer, more complex and spoken queries.

• In January, Google’s Eric Schmidt denied knowledge of the NSA’s data tapping of the search firm

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Thursday 23rd January 2014 14.57 Europe/London

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