Google adds more semantic smarts to its search engine

An upgrade to Google's search results aims to provide key facts, figures, and other information related to your search term.

Google seems to be eking out a major new tweak to its search results.

Reportedly spotted by several users, the search pages are now displaying semantic data nestled to the right of the regular results. Such information tries to tie in relevant facts related to the subject of your search rather than just providing links to external Web sites.

For example, run a search for "Howard Carter," the archaeologist who discovered the tomb of King Tut and is the focus of today's Google Doodle . In return, you'll see an entry on the right displaying key facts and a photo of Carter from Wikipedia, as Engadget points out.

Or search for "English football team," as one fellow in the U.K. did, and the entry on the right offers up a description of the team and even includes the names of all the key players.

Like most Google tweaks, this one appears to be rolling out slowly. So you may not be able to see any results just yet. I tried the feature on my end, plugging in "Howard Carter," "English football team," and other terms, but no related semantic results popped up.

A Google spokesperson was mum about any changes to the search results, telling CNET that "we're always experimenting with ways to improve Search, but we have nothing to announce at this time."

But the new feature isn't unexpected.

Last month, Google revealed that it was planning a major revamp to its search engine , telling The Wall Street Journal that the new search would work more like "how humans understand the world."

The company said that the changes would roll out over the next few months but that the full overhaul would likely take years. It also told CNET that no specific timeline exists for the new features and that they would be launched when ready.

The Journal did specifically mention new semantic algorithms that would tap into data Google has been building over the past couple of years. The goal is to not to replace the current keyword search process but simply to add more relevant information right off the bat, which people can then explore further.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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