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Google adds more content to search pages

Searchers looking for specific facts will now find those answers right below the query box, increasing the amount of time they spend on Google's pages.

Google search
Google will speed up the time from query to answer with snippets of information presented ahead of links to search results.
Screenshot by Jim Kerstetter/CNET

Google has figured out how to make use of the Google Squared technology it introduced last year, adding more content to its search results pages in the process.

Two new features are rolling out to Google users Wednesday morning, and both involve results generated through the Google Squared experiment.Google announced Google Squared exactly a year ago as a Google Labs project, in hopes of learning more about how to present structured search results.

That effort has produced a nice side effect: Google has figured out a way to keep you on its search results pages for longer amounts of time. Searches looking for a specific fact--say, the birth date of actress Catherine Zeta-Jones--will now see that answer presented directly beneath the query box, eliminating that pesky problem of having to click through to the Web page with the answer. As with most new Google features, it will roll out gradually to users.

Google has been heading in this direction for a while, publishing this type of data in snippets below links to search results in January. It fits right in with Google's mission to deliver information to its users and will definitely be useful in a mobile situation, but it also has the benefit of keeping searchers on Google's sites for a little longer, during which time they might happen to glimpse an ad.

Google also announced that the "something different" section on its new left-hand rail was built using Google Squared technology, which remains in Google Labs. Google Squared crawls the Web to produce information in a spreadsheet-like format in response to a query, and judging by the example link provided on its home page "new york city bridges," it's definitely still a Labs project.