Google is constantly tweaking its search results page to include more information typically found deep within websites, and now its search engine will surface college and university data starting today. Now, when a user searches for a school using Google, the results page will show information culled from the US Department of Education's College Scorecard. That includes the school's graduation rate, its average total cost with financial aid, the average salary after attending that school, and the institution's acceptance rate and undergraduate tuition cost.
In the long term, these types of additions to Google search bolster the company's core advertising business. The more queries users input into Google's search engine, the more revenue it earns. So any improvements the company can make to the results page to make it more useful will only aid its advantage over app-based alternatives on mobile.
You can see this strategy play out more prominently with the 2016 US election, where dozens upon dozens of search terms now generate uniquely formatted information about candidates' positions on important issues, debate times, delegate counts, and other data that, in the past, required clicking on links to find. It's all part of Google's plan to keep the web relevant in an era when mobile apps and social networks continue vacuuming up more of users' attention.