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Answer Highlighting A New Google Feature

January 25th, 2010

Traditionally when displaying search results google displays a small paragraph of text which is either read from the web page itself or the descriptions tag which is added by the page creator and does not tend to change dependent on the search term. However google has now decided to implement something called Answer Highlighting where it will modify the description shown if it believes the new text will answer your question. For example to find the height of the empire state building we may search for [empire state height] which will normally display the following output.

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As you will see the description is generic and does not answer the question even though the resulting web page probably would reveal the answer. To enhance the user experience google has decided to modify the description of the page to include the result if it believes it is present in the resulting web page an hence will now display the following result

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This time google has presented a result which clearly gives you the answer without having to click the link to view the wikipedia page. This is an excellent improvement for user experience and will enable its customers to get quicker answers to their questions. For content providers however this is disastrous as they rely on traffic to their website for advertising revenue and surely these “improvements” will lower the number of websites visited and hence lower revenues for the site owners.

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