Jul 22, 2021 - Economy

Google will add more context to search results

Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google on Thursday said it's rolling out a new feature called the "About This Result panel," which will give users more context about their search results, and help them find the most useful information.

Why it matters: The update gives everyday users much more visibility into how Google's search algorithm works.

Details: Beginning in the U.S. this week, users will see a small button that looks like three horizontal dots on the right-hand side of almost all search results. When clicked, it will show a pop-up with additional information.

  • The "About This Result" panel will show users information about some of the most important factors used by Google to answer queries.
  • Some of the factors include matching keywords, related terms, and local relevance, which includes the language one is using and where they are when conducting the search.

Yes, but: Google concedes that there can be risks associated with bringing more transparency to search results, primarily bad actors using the information to better game the search algorithm.

  • "That's one of of reasons we can't expose all of the information about how search works in this panel," said Elizabeth Tucker, a product manager for Google Search. "We would definitely have that concern."
  • Still, Tucker says that what's being elevated isn't super secretive. "I suspect a lot of people who are very technical already know this level of explanation," she said.

What's next: The update rolls out incrementally in the U.S. starting this week and will roll out globally in the future.

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