Google has been testing/experimenting with some richer search results pages for things like movies, actors, bands, books, people, etc. We wrote about it last month when a reddit user posted a screen cap, but from the sound of it, these results may become commonplace for all Google users in the near term.
Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land reports that it "seems likely everyone may see this extended information soon." He also says it's likely that this is the "refresh" the Wall Street Journal reported on in March. We wrote about that here.
Basically, based on the description from the Wall Street Journal, Google would be providing more direct answer-type results that would keep more users from having to click through links to actually find what they're looking for. This would fit that bill.
Based on the WSJ article, the content would be coming from the fruits of Google's acquisition of Metaweb Technologies in 2010.
"With efforts like rich snippets and the search answers feature, we’re just beginning to apply our understanding of the web to make search better," Google upon the acquisition. "Type [barack obama birthday] in the search box and see the answer right at the top of the page. Or search for [events in San Jose] and see a list of specific events and dates. We can offer this kind of experience because we understand facts about real people and real events out in the world. But what about [colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000] or [actors over 40 who have won at least one oscar]? These are hard questions, and we’ve acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we’ll be able to provide better answers."
If these features do indeed become actual features, beyond experiments, it will further illustrate the fact that Google's results pages are becoming much more cluttered, particularly when compared to Bing's more simplistic refresh. It's a far cry from the simple SERPs Google users got to know and love a decade or so ago, though there has been a lot of functionality added.
Of course, not everyone's thrilled with some of the things Bing is doing either.
According to Sullivan, this particular experimental feature of Google used to come with a "Sources" label.
Image Credit: reddit user philosyche