So ubiquitous and indispensable is Google search that the company’s name is used as a verb to describe the act. No real person “bings” anything, but we’ve all “googled” a bit in our time. And while we all still complain about certain results, it’s amazing, almost amazingly good at what it does. My own daily research for this very job would take much longer without her. Now Google is introducing some changes to the “About this result” function that describe it in more detail Why They see what you do on a particular search and reveal the machinations behind something we probably all take for granted.
The change builds on that About this result function, launched earlier this year to help you better understand and review the sources of information shown in Search. Back then, you were only shown information about the linked site, taken from things like Wikipedia and Google’s own index to explain the origin and history of the venue. But as of today it will be expanded to show you a lot more information.
The new feature explains whether a given result has been influenced by things like your current location, things you’ve recently looked at, and frequently used terms – or even just keywords. Often there is a lot more to it than that, but searching can reveal these types of details to help you better understand the connection of a particular result to your query. And even better, this can give you the kind of feedback to get better at Googling.
The new details not only explain “why” you’re seeing what you’re doing, but also provide tips on how to improve your search. Tap on some of these explanations of why results showed up when one of them wasn’t what you expected and Google will explain how you can modify your search to better control that aspect. It can be as simple as figuring out your language settings, or as complicated as learning some of them Google’s super powerful semi-hidden commands.
Google Search is a powerful but sometimes obscure tool, and changes like this can make its seemingly arcane abilities a little less mysterious – though probably nothing will ever completely eliminate suspicions that it is somehow spying on you if the results are just too perfect are. At least most of us have forgotten what it is like to get to the second page of results.