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Google has altered its search results to give users a handful of in-depth articles on certain topics and subjects, the company announced today.

The change is significant not only because Google is the most popular search engine in the world, but also due to its effort to provide users with search results that are contextual rather than just explanatory. Feature articles about a particular topic provide the kind of conversational finesse and context that you probably won’t find from a Wikipedia page or text book. The company said about 10 percent of its searches require more contextual results, according to its research.

Google already does this to some degree when a set of search terms contain a tag that’s actively being discussed on news sites, pulling in pertinent articles from Google news. Today’s change gives those articles more prominence at the top of the search page, including the headline, summary text, and the publication it came from. (See screenshot at the bottom of the post.)

Here’s Google’s expanded explanation, with examples:

“If you care about censorship, you’ll find a thought-provoking article by Salman Rushdie in The New Yorker, a piece by our very own Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in the Guardian, and another great article about Iran. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, search for [lego], you’ll find great in-depth articles about many different facets of the topic from gender to engineering to art. For some more examples, check out new search results for population growth, capital punishment and e-waste.”

For now, the added in-depth articles within search will only appear in English. The company said it will include articles from several major news publications as well as articles from sources that you’ve probably never heard from.


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