New in Google Search: Longer Snippets, Better Related Results
Article by George Norman
On 25 Mar 2009
Mountain View search engine giant Google is announcing the addition of two new features to its search functionality: longer snippets (the little bits of text that tell you what to expect when you click on a search result) and better results in the “searches related to” category.

“We’re rolling out two new improvements to Google search. The first offers an expanded list of useful related searches and the second is the addition of longer search result descriptions -- both of which help guide users more effectively to the information they need. These are just two recent examples of improvements we've made. We are constantly looking for ways to get you to the web page you want as quickly as possible. Even if you don't notice all of our changes, rest assured we're hard at work making sure you have the highest quality search experience possible," explained Ori Allon, Technical Lead, Search Quality Team, and Ken Wilder, Snippets Team Engineer.


Most of us have grown accustomed to keeping our search queries short and to the point. With the longer snippets feature, it now pays to enter more words into the query. If you enter more than 3 words into the search query, Google will now display a larger number of lines in the snippet, which is great since a short snippet might not be that much help to you. A longer snippet on the other hand will show more of your search query as it appears in a particular web page, helping you more easily get to the source of the information.

For some search queries Google will also display a list of “searches related to” – this feature has been enhanced so that it can “better understand associations and concepts related to your search.” What this means is that Google is capable of better understanding what you are looking for and thus provide more relevant results. The simple truth of the matter is that if you enter a complex query, it is hard to find a relevant search result, unless you have what is known as “semantic search” – and that is exactly what Google has here, a means of understanding what you are saying, a means that goes beyond searching simple keywords. This one reminds me of Wolfram Alpha.

According to Tony Ruscoe and Philipp Lenssen from Google Blogoscoped, Google is also experimenting with other search options, including a feature called “wonder wheel” – details here.

Tags: Google, Google Search
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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