New feature from the search giant should make it easier to understand what it is you’re about to click on
The issue of being able to trust what we see online has never been more important.
Whether it’s the news we read, the images we see or the videos we watch, untrustworthy information can have serious consequences on the things we believe and the decisions we make.
Many of us use search engines to look for information, and this has the potential to lead us to sources that may not be entirely trustworthy. To that end, Google has started to introduce a new ‘About this result’ feature, which should help users gain a better understanding of the results that are returned from a search query.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Google About this result feature?
Google’s About this result feature is designed to help search engine users better understand the website on which a search result is found.
Before clicking on the search result itself, users are now able to click on a widget that provides key information at a glance.
How do I access this?
Simply click on the three dots that appear next to the upper-right-hand side of the search result and a small panel should appear.
What does this information show?
There are a number of details in this panel but the main section is titled Source. This shows a brief description of the website on which the result is found, and is useful if you’ve never visited the website.
Where does this information come from?
The information in this section of the panel appears to come from Wikipedia. Naturally, as not every site has a Wikipedia page, this won’t be available for every link. In this case, the panel may show when the website was first indexed by Google instead.
Google also states that when searching for things like jobs or business listings, this Source section will provide further information on the nature of these results, rather than a description of a particular website. This makes more sense as it may be pulling through these results from a variety of sources.
What else does this panel show?
The panel also shows the full URL of the link so that you have a better idea of its relevance to your search query.
You should also be told whether the connection to the site is secure (in other words, whether it uses the HTTPS protocol).
Furthermore, a passage of text makes it clear that this is a search result, rather than a paid ad. This is becoming increasingly necessary as a greater proportion of above-the-fold results are now paid adverts – admittedly with an ‘Ad’ or ‘Sponsored’ marker next to them – rather than organic search results.
A further link allows people to submit feedback on the result, while ‘How search works’ and ‘Privacy settings’ buttons appear at the base of the panel.
How is this different from the Knowledge Graph panel?
Currently, many search results for a specific subject are accompanied by a Knowledge Graph panel, which hosts key information on that subject.
This can include a subject’s date of birth, social media profiles, a relevant Wikipedia page and related subjects that are often searched for, and all of this is intended to help people find specific information faster.
While the About this result panel makes use of Wikipedia information, it does not aim to replace this Knowledge Graph. Rather, it gives users a better idea of the nature of the site on which this information is found, rather than further details on the subject itself.
Is this available for all devices?
Currently, the feature is being rolled out across desktop and mobile devices, as well as on the Android version of the Google app.
Why can’t I see this feature?
Google states that the About this result feature will appear next to most, rather than all, search results.
It’s also still in beta, which means that it’s entirely possible that the feature will undergo certain changes before it’s rolled out more widely.