Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quick Guide to Google’s Direct Answers

The Google results to the following questions all yield answers above the actual organic web results – but each is a different kind of so-called onebox:

You type:Who is Dumbo?
Google answers: DUMBO – ... is an animated feature, produced by Walt Disney and first released on 23 October 1941 by RKO Radio ...
Explanation: This is the Google Q&A feature; other examples include “population of berlin”, or “where’s osama?”
You type:What’s 9 times 7?
Google answers: 9 times 7 = 63
Explanation: This is the Google Calculator. Other searches include “six times the answer to life, the universe and everything”.
You type:What’s 10 Euro in USD?
Google answers: 10 Euro = 12.66200 U.S. dollars
Explanation: This is Google Calculator currency conversion.
You type:What’s the time in Chicago?
Google answers: Chicago, Illinois, US - Current local time: 10:16 AM on Tuesday, October 10
Explanation: This is Google’s time zone information.
You type:What’s love?
Google answers: Web definitions for love - strong positive emotion of regard and affection; “his love for his work"; “children need a lot of love”
Explanation: This is Google’s definition feature; other searches include “define:css”.
You type:Chicago to San Francisco?
Google answers: Flights from Chicago, IL to San Francisco, CA Departing: [10/24] Returning: [10/31] ...
Explanation: This is Google’s flight information onebox forwarding you to Expedia and others. Other searches include “chicago to munich”
You type:Where’s an image of Angelina Jolie?
Google answers: Tip: Looking for pictures? Try Google Images
Explanation: This is a simple redirect to Google Images.
You type:Where can I buy Art School Confidential?
Google answers: Product search results for where can I buy Art School Confidential? Art School Confidential - $14.35 - Buy The Book
Explanation: This is Froogle sending you directly to shop sites.
You type:Where’s a map of San Francisco?
Google answers: Map of San Francisco, CA: Google Maps - Yahoo! Maps - MapQuest
Explanation: This is the Google Maps info onebox.
You type:Pizza in New York?
Google answers: Local results for pizza near New York, NY - Lombardi’s Pizza - 0.8 miles NE - 32 Spring St, New York, 10012 - (212) 941-7994 ...
Explanation: These are local results, now merged with Google Maps.
You type:Whois
Google answers nothing anymore, unfortunately. 
Explanation: For a brief period of time around two years ago, Google handed out WHOIS domain information on this query – I’m not sure exactly which kind of syntax styles were supported but it was connected to the “whois” operator.
You type:Where can I find news on Africa?
Google answers: News results for Where can I find news on Africa? - View today’s top stories - South Africa: SA Diplomat Transferred Home From London
Explanation: This is the Google News onebox; other searches include “george bush”.


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