By Elton Gomes
Google has introduced a new feature to its mobile web, and the Search app on Android and iOS that would show only a single link to a query, if it can be answered by a direct result for a better search experience.
As per the report in Search Engine Land, Google has decided to show zero search results when they are confident that they will be able to provide answers that fully resolve the searcher’s query.
This is currently limited to many time, calculations, and conversions searches. This means that it could be used in searches that ask for answers to maths questions, what the time is in specific locations, and for measurement and unit conversions. Users can also view the full search results by tapping the link “Show all results”.
Google completed the testing of this experimental feature in March and is releasing it with better accuracy of the direct answers. Google also ensures that advertisements do not appear in this feature.
“Since our initial experiment in February, we worked to remove ads and improve the triggering quality for this experience to be sure that we’re serving users what they’re looking for, and we will still provide the option to tap to see more results,” Google said in an emailed statement to Search Engine Land.
As per another report in 9to5Google, the company confirmed yesterday that the feature is now being widely introduced. These direct Google Search answers are available on the mobile web, as well as the Android and iOS Search app. Results on desktop browsers will continue to have built-in tools followed by 10 blue links.
When will SERPs be hidden?
Google will only hide the SERPs (search engine results pages) when the query is specific to time, calculations, and conversion. However, in some cases, if Google thinks that a searcher might want to get the complete search results, Google will show the same by default.
For instance, a search for “time in Delhi” will reveal the time in Delhi. However, when you type in “time in New York”, Google will also show results for the New York Times because it believes that some users may have actually been looking for NYT.
Google tested the feature in March
After launching the feature earlier in March, Google was quick to pull it down owing to the lack of accuracy of the answers. Google removed the feature earlier because many people expressed dissatisfaction with the test. Google stopped it after several days, and said that they would rethink these efforts.
Google’s recent new features
The single result feature has been the latest amongst several Google updates. In December 2017, Google launched a new search feature that had celebrities and other influential personalities answering commonly searched questions about them in the form of selfie videos. The videos appeared at the top of mobile search results.
In November 2018, Search Engine Land reported that Google Search had added a new feature that allowed users to add comments to the search results, though the feature was limited to queries about live sports games. The feature was reportedly announced earlier this year, with the FIFA World Cup 2018. On the contributions page, Google inserted a “Comments” tab, where users could see comments on live sports matches. Comments could be added only when a live match was going on.
Earlier in 2018, Google had introduced multifaceted featured snippets in the mobile search results. Google had later begun testing showing these multifaceted featured snippets in the desktop search results as well. Google introduced the feature keeping in mind that not all queries could be answered in a word or two. Giving a user one answer to a subjective query, which could have one or more answers, could be dangerous. Hence, Google now gives users two answers, providing different ways to fully understand the query.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
The article was updaed on November 29, 2018, and the image with two screenshots was added.
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