This week, Google is expanding its “featured snippets,” the portion of text that is returned above a search result to give you quick answers without having to click through, as reported by TechCrunch.
In a blog post, Google explains it is adjusting this function because the questions we ask can be multifaceted and mean different things. For example, the terse, sample query “garden needs full sun?” could mean “what garden plants need full sun?” or “what counts as full sun?” Another example Google gives is “tooth pain after filling,” which could be understood as “why does my tooth still hurt after a filling?” or “how long should a tooth hurt after a filling?” Where before Google would previously only return one featured snippet (which hopefully addressed the question), it will now return multiple featured snippets that address different interpretations.
Google is starting with “multi-intent” queries, but in the future, plans to include what it calls “guidance-seeking” queries, or questions that have many facets bundled into one. An example would be, “is it worth fixing my foundation?” — a broad question that involves cost, methods, and more.
The company announced it was working on delivering multiple snippets earlier this year. The feature has had its share of controversy in the past — Google often finds itself under fire delivering inaccurate and offensive snippets for certain search terms as a result of the PageRank algorithm, which was built to deliver the most popular results for any search regardless of accuracy or truthfulness.