Google’s world of snippets

29 January 2016

For a long time now, Google’s Results have contained more than just indexed websites. Results have grown to include rich snippets, authorship (although since deprecated), local maps listings amongst other things. Often, snippets are displayed when searching for facts and figures or for events, movie times and restaurants, bars and clubs.

In a lot of instances, Google also provides readily accessible statistics and facts from sources such as Wikipedia. Webmasters also have the power to provide Google insight into the structure of their webpage so that Google can provide rich snippets next to their website listing in search.

For example, if you google “How long is the Golden Gate Bridge”, Google will display the exact statistic above any search results – 2,737 metres (or 1.7 miles for our US friends). Google also performs basic mathematic calculations such as converting metres into miles and provides the answer ahead of search results.

This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. No page on the internet is realistically going to have relevant and important results for a basic mathematic conversion, essentially we just want the answer!

Smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s range of Galaxy phones also provide similar functionality through their voice recognition applications. S Voice for instance can answer the same question, although it uses the closed source Wolfram|Alpha Knowledge Base.

One final feature of Google’s clever little bank of knowledge is their ability to provide your IP Address. For whatever reason you may need it, just Google “What is my IP” and it will display.

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