Google Adds Subtopics To Featured Snippets In Search


Google is improving search results by adding a bunch of subtopics under the Featured Snippets panel. These snippets, for the uninitiated, appear at the top of search results page and feature images plus text that Google thinks are related to the query.

In other words, Featured Snippets are Google's way of saving users from clicking on too many items and also a way to make the search experience more fluid and intuitive. Now, Google is going beyond that and is adding relevant subtopics, which provides additional information that might be related to the original query.

Featured Snippets Now Include Subtopics

In Google's example, searching for "Quartz vs Granite" will not only give a brief overview of the better material but will also offer "Cost," "Benefits," "Weight," and "Durability" as clickable subtopics, letting the user compare and contrast the two under fine-tuned aspects. Users have Google's special algorithm to thank here, as it's the one that automatically chooses the subtopics based on the given query.

To be clear, "vs" queries aren't required to trigger subtopics: they'll work with various other queries just as well, such as "emergency funds."

"This new format is meant to help guide you with what we understand to be common, useful aspects of the topic and help you sift through the information available, all with the goal of delivering the most relevant results for you," Google said in a blog post.

The company says the feature will roll out over the next few days, and it'll work on both desktop and mobile. For now, as TechCrunch notes, the feature still seems somewhat half-baked, with many queries failing to trigger subtopics. Google relies on machine learning for most of its Search algorithms, however, which in turn requires a knowledge library stitched from user input. In other words, once it's out and more people use it, it'll definitely get better.

A Better Google Search

The company says that subtopics are part of an ongoing effort to deliver more comprehensive search results to queries. This past February, for instance, Google began showing multiple Featured Snippets when the algorithm thinks a query has multiple interpretations.

As always, Google is encouraging people to provide feedback on the information they see, especially if it's wrong. Featured Snippets aren't always perfect, and it's also up to real-life humans, not just computers, to ensure the system operates at its best.

To learn more about Featured Snippets, check out Google's blog post on the subject.

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