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Google: This new feature should make your search results a little easier to understand


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Google wants to help you find key information about sites quickly.


Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Google is rolling out a new feature in search results that gives users a quick way of discovering what a site is about without having to open the site.

Google is displaying a new menu icon next to most search results that can be tapped to quickly view additional context about the site behind the result. The summary information from the “About this result” feature is sourced from Wikipedia, if there is a page on Wikipedia about the site.

The idea is to provide users with a way to find more information without having to an additional search about the sites in the search results.

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“With this additional context, you can make a more informed decision about the sites you may want to visit and what results will be most useful for you,” explained JK Kearns, a product manager at Google Search.

Kearns argues the additional information can provide context and “peace of mind” to the user if they’re researching a sensitive subject, like health or financial information.

A key example Google provides for the feature is the Lancet, which Wikipedia describes as one of the world’s best-known peer-reviewed general medical journals. This could be useful for people researching a subject with a lot of noise, like COVID-19.

Once the menu icon is pressed on a smartphone, an “About this result” card pops up with a brief description of the site, the source of that information, and whether the connection to the site is secure and uses HTTPS. If a Wikipedia page is not available, Google shows additional context, such as when it first indexed the site.

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Another change it’s making is to how it will show job listings and local listings. The listings will include a description of how Google sourced the information from websites or businesses.

Google has started rolling out this feature today in English in the US on desktop, mobile web and via the Google App on Android.

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