Is Google about to make it easier for users to find relevant information without ever leaving the search page?
Reddit user philosyche just spotted what looks like an experimental Google search feature in the wild. Considering it's legit, the feature would continue Google's push to provide more direct answers in search results, something that has far-reaching implications for websites around the world.
The new feature throws relevant information about a query into the white space on the right side of the page. In this screenshot, you can see that a search for "The Beatles" shows a quick summary, along with information about some of their top songs and albums, as well as related searches.
As you can see, there are plenty of links in this "auxiliary" (my word, not Google's, obviously) search. The basic biographical info on the band comes from Wikipedia. There are links to specific songs and albums - possibly to Google Play? The related search links would obviously open up new Google searches.
The reddit user who posted this screencap to the Google subreddit now says that this is gone from their search results. Could it be a rolling update? A search experiment?
If so, will it only show up for a certain type of query like bands or films?
As we told you last week, Google runs upwards of 20,000 different search experiments every year - only a fraction of which ever make it to real Google users. Matt Cutts recently said that in 2009, only 585 of these changes ever made it to prime time.
A feature like this doesn't seem strange at all, considering Google's rumored strategy of providing users with more direct answers within search results. You know what I'm talking about - when you search something like "Easter 2012" or "The Dark Knight Rises release date," here's what you'l see at the top:
Of course, this is all considering that the screencap is real. Personally, I don't see anything like this when I search for The Beatles. Does anybody else see this new feature? Let us know in the comments.