Technology

Now, Google Will Directly Answer Some Of Your Searches

Zero Search Results
Image Source: Search Engine Land (screenshot)

Google Search for the first time is introducing a technology that will not show the actual search results (web links), rather a definite answer to your query. Google’s zero search results won’t appear for all queries, but for very specific queries, like when you use the search bar as a calculator or unit converter.

Google’s zero search results – what it is?

Google’s zero search results are currently for queries related to time/date, conversion or math related answers. The search giant has added a button – “show all results” – to such specific answers as well, and clicking it will give the related search results.

Google, initially, tested the feature in March, but dropped it shortly after negative feedback, says a report from Search Engine Land. Now, Google is reintroducing the zero search results feature and is rolling it out widely.

“As always, our goal with search is to help people quickly find the most relevant information. For queries where we have extremely high confidence that a user is seeking a calculation, unit conversion or local time, we will show a single result to improve load time on mobile,” Google told Search Engine Land.

For now, the feature is restricted only to mobile for calculation, unit conversion or local time-related queries. In some of the cases, including some time-related queries, Google Search may still show search results. For instance, if you type “time” in the search bar for knowing the current time, Google might also assume that you want Time Magazine. So, it will show the current time along with other related search results.

Google is cutting other search results or showing zero search results only when it is extremely confident of the answer that the user is looking for. Showing a specific answer is good for both users and Google. For users, it means saving time by getting the exact and quick answer, while for Google, it allows the company to boost the load time. Since a full page of search results are not shown, fewer resources are utilized to answer a search, leading to speeding up load time.

All iOS, Android and mobile web users will now start seeing the condensed view or zero search results. However, those on a desktop will continue to get full search results. Google’s zero search results might not be good news for the third-party online converters, which may not show up in the search results now.

Allows users to comment on search results

Google, meanwhile, is working on another new search feature to allow users to leave comments on search results. The search giant understands that comments can prove useful to other users. Possibly this is why Google Maps started showing messages between users and businesses. Now, Google is expanding the feature to allow users to leave comments on Google Search.

9to5Google, in a teardown of the Google Android app, found a new feature under the “Your contributions” section that allows users to leave comments on Google Search. The new feature, however, is currently focused toward live sports games, where comments on public forums can help cheer the fans and the team.

As of now, not much is known about this comments feature, including how it works. Possibly, Google would list the most useful or relevant comment, similar to how it shows the top search results.

Other new Google Search features

A couple of months back, Google added several new features to its core Search product as part of its 20th-anniversary celebration.

The biggest change was to Google’s News Feed. It is now called “Discover,” and will appear on the Google homepage on all the mobile browsers. It will show the content and articles based on user’s interests. Moreover, some “evergreen” content will also be shown if they are relevant to the user.

Further, Discover cards will include headers, explaining why a user got such results. There will be Discover icons as well, allowing users to access more content, which users will be able to add to their feed by clicking “follow.”

Another change is the addition of Activity Cards in the Search Box. These cards will show users their past searchers along with visited web pages that are related to the current query. Users will have the option to disable it as well.

Google added a “Collections” feature as well. It is similar to the bookmark function that allows users to save and manage search results. The search giant also announced a “Stories” feature, similar to the one on Snapchat or Instagram. Google’s Stories feature focuses on celebrities and athletes, and allows publishers to use video, text, and images to show their content.