When users search for information, they are often after a definitive answer on a topic or term. Rather than wading through the search results, Google now offers curated answers via top articles to help enlighten the world.
Improving the State of Search
Despite all their acquisitions and revamps, the major search portals are on a slow evolution curve, as us users seem pretty much satisfied with the current experience. The list of results, alternative search terms and refinement options appear across the likes of Google, Yahoo and bing to some extent.
Trying to shakes things up a little, Google will soon be adding three near-definitive articles for particular search terms to help everyone get the key points or issues that most people are likely to be looking for, whether it is a search for hot topics like "web privacy," "fracking" or denser topics from the sciences, expect Google to start rolling out some easy-to-digest articles soon enough.
For now the initial batch of links highlighted by the company in a blog post include censorship, population growth and LEGO, just to shown its not all in-depth political discussion. Those articles currently come from big-name publications like the Wall Street Journal and New Yorker, but will widen over time, and content providers can check the post to find out how to better position their articles to appear in the in-depth section.
Looking for Answers
Given the major player's ability to change, it shouldn't be too long before we see reciprocal action from the other search sites. But with Yahoo's acquisition of Summly and bings experiment's with social media integration, they could easily come up with their own spin on the idea.
Of course, with any politically-related issue, we'll likely start to see complaints of bias as one article leans one way or the other. But, ignoring those, users should be able to use Google to become acquainted with a topic more easily.
Presumably the service will roll out across mobiles too, perhaps with a quick bookmark option to allow users to come back to stories they don't have time to read. For now the service is only for English language users, but expect it to roll out more widely in future.