Google Highlights Answers in Search Results

    January 22, 2010
    Chris Crum

Google has launched a new feature for search called "answer highlighting." This is based on Google Squared, Google’s structured data project announced last year at the company’s Searchology event. What it does is highlight answers to applicable queries within the search snippet.

For example, if the query is "empire state height," it will bold the actual answer for that, in addition to the words used in the query. Previously, it would have only bolded those words.

Answer Highlighting

"Most information on the web is unstructured. For example, blogs integrate paragraphs of text, videos and images in ways that don’t follow simple rules. Product review sites each have their own formats, rating scales and categories. Unstructured data is difficult for a computer to interpret, which means that we humans still have to do a fair amount of work to synthesize and understand information on the web," says Google. "Google Squared is one of our early efforts to automatically identify and extract structured data from across the Internet. We’ve been making progress, and today the research behind Google Squared is, for the first time, making search better for everyone with a new feature called ‘answer highlighting.’"

Don’t expect answer highlighting to be present in all search results, because in many cases, it just doesn’t make sense. You are more likely to come across it when there are specific answers or data involved.

Google also launched rich snippets for events today. To learn more about the RDFa, which helps Google find content for rich snippets, read this. Google has been using rich snippets for things like product reviews, and people information, but now events will sometimes utilize them. For example, if you search for a concert venue, you may see a few upcoming concerts listed.

Related Articles:

> A Markup That Could Have Big Implications for SEO

> Google Makes it Easier to Tell Where Results Originate From

> Get More Links in Your Actual Google Results