According to the report reaching us from our sources, this week, Google is amplifying and spreading out its “featured snippets,” the portion of text that is returned above a search result to provide you with quick answers without you having to click through.
Google explains in a blog post that it is adjusting this function because the questions we ask can be multifaceted and mean different things. Take for instance, the terse, sample query “garden needs full sun?” could mean “what garden plants need full sun?” or “what counts as full sun?” Another example Google passes on is “tooth pain after filling,” which could be taken to be “why does my mouth still hurt after a filling?” or “how long should a tooth hurt after filling?” Where before now, Google would previously only return one featured snippet (which will hopefully address the question), now, it will be returning multiple featured snippets that will cover different interpretations.
Google is first beginning with “multi-intent” queries, but later in the future, the company is planning to include what it refers to as “guidance-seeking” queries, or questions that have many facets bundled into one. A typical example would be, “is it worth fixing my foundation?” which happens to be a broad question that involves cost, methods, and more. Google will provide multiple snippets that would carry different interpretations so the person asking the question gets to choose which option affects or relates to what they are looking for.
The company had announced that it was working on delivering multiple snippets earlier in the year. In the past, the feature had had its share of controversy to the extent that Google had a lot of times found itself under pressure delivering inaccurate and even offensive snippets for a few search items as a result of the PageRank algorithm which had been built to provide the most popular results for any search in spite of how accurate or truthful it was.