Thursday, January 23, 2014

"About this site" A new feature on the SERP

Google just launched a really great addition for the Search Results Page (SERP).  

For most sites, there is now a gray "site information" target next to the green URL.  

If you click anywhere on the gray target, you'll get a summary of information about the site (which gives you a quick heads up about their organization, their take on things, and their perspective).  

Experiment with it a bit.  I tried the query [ paleoclimate ] and quickly found that in the first 10 links on the SERP, there were a variety of opinions about climate change--from official cautious commentary by .GOV sites, through radical denial by climate change skeptics.  

Here are a few examples from my query.  Notice how the site is described, often with date of founding, a summary of their site, and awards, if any.  

With the new "about this site" link, you can get a quick overview of the site.  Incredibly handy for doing research.  (Perhaps especially for students!)  

Official Google Blog post on "About this site."  

Search on! 


  1. I just tried it out with that old chestnut of search queries long used by librarians who want to show students the importance of evaluating who is behind the content on a website: search for "martin luther king" and note how one of the top 5 hits--from the domain, no less--is from a white supremacist organization. I had been hoping that the new "About this site" feature would be there on the SERP for this site, but no luck. I wonder what is going on under the hood at Google about what sites get the "About this site" feature.

    1. Good catch. I'll ask around and post what I find out here.

    2. feature not showing up for me - suspect dated hardware…
      Mr. Francoeur raises an interesting question that is tied to page ranking too - right?
      anyway, found this as I tried the "old chestnut" for myself - a different approach to image search that is King/Berkeley related - it's a story worth following to see the response and how they would be verified. Look forward to seeing where, if anywhere, this thread leads.
      face in a crowd hunt
      reporter's twitter (does his employer own that content?)

    3. Research at Google posted this today. Not much more info except that it comes from the Knowledge Graph.

    4. Short answer: Not everything is covered. We need good data from our Knowledge Graph to be able to create the site summary. I was just talking with those folks yesterday and we think we've got a solution for this case. (Which turns out to be tricky for all kinds of reasons.)

  2. Thanks Dr. Russell for sharing it is a great new thing.

  3. doesn't show this feature, so I made the default but it still doesn't show up - I tried the 'paleoclimate' search to replicate Dr. Russell's results. A pity, because it looks interesting.
    Pam, NZ

    1. Pam I am not sure if this is correct but I did a query [ paleoclimate] and while I didn't get the same results as Dr. Russell I did get the the new feature on the SERP. I am using the Chromebook and Chrome Browser. It doesn't work on my Android with the Chrome Browser. Just an idea.

    2. The feature (I should have pointed out) is launched only in the US and CA. NZ is coming soon. Hang in there.

      +Rosemary -- the reason is works for you is that your running your query in CA (not NZ), so [ ... ] won't make a difference.

  4. a little off topic, but it does involve water… and $$$… in different forms…
    hopefully Dan didn't take the day off to go goofy footing/rag dolling at Mavericks… but it would be a fine way to burn a Friday.
    Little Yosemite/the Goo buses
    Vinod Khosla
    Huli Cat photo
    more Huli
    different view/explanation
    bathymetry - word of the day
    from NOAA
    data sets & data products

    if the drought is really bad:
    the dude arides - Dubai
    Huacachina, Peru
    adapt and surf on