Google to start showing more content and send less traffic to publishers

More data and answers to be displayed directly on

If you do certain searches on Google related to air travel, currency and measurement conversions, definitions, and the weather, Google will show you the result on top of the search results. For example, here’s what I see when I search for “weather in Austin”:

When you get your answer on itself you have no reason to go to a site in the search results for the answer.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal*, Google plans to ramp up this type of content display in the next year or two:

Under the shift, people who search for “Lake Tahoe” will see key “attributes” that the search engine knows about the lake, such as its location, altitude, average temperature or salt content. In contrast, those who search for “Lake Tahoe” today would get only links to the lake’s visitor bureau website, its dedicated page on, and a link to a relevant map.

For a more complex question such as, “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?” Google might provide the answer instead of just links to other sites.

While Google has given up on some of its “original content” ideas like Knol, Google would still rather have users get the information they need directly from Google rather than your web site. That could spell trouble for some web publishers who focus on data and answers to simple questions.

* I’ll be nice enough to link to the Wall Street Journal article and give it credit, even though it doesn’t link to its sources for stories. No, I’m not bitter at all about not getting credit in this article.


  1. says

    As web user i thing this a good idea. I get the information i need faster.
    From the web developer side of it, there is a limit to how much google can put in the result pages for each site.
    So this facts sites will probably loose a number of unique visitors per day.
    But time spend on site may not decline as much since it is most likely the users looking for quick facts they will loose.
    If name of source is listed in result page the brand awareness of a site might not loose as much on this.

  2. Jp says

    Yes wolfram alpha is correct.

    Also I think it’s a stupid play by google. People use google to look for websites that have the answers right? And google sells ads to folks because it makes sense people are using google to find the right place.

    Well if google is the right place then who is going to buy ads?

    No more ads about the weather soon on google, why bother.

    Is google getting money for people getting an answer to the weather like this, no. They may get more happy users though. URL shorteners have lots of happy users also but don’t make any money. There has to be a way to make money from this, lots of money, for this to make any sense.

  3. says

    in that case I’d rather ask questions and get info on facebook. My friends can tell me the same things as google.

    Publishers will be better off buying ads on facebook too or directly on relevant sites.

    BING :)

  4. GarotoK says

    Google is already at the tipping point of patience with advertisers usurping their content model and taking up the section above the fold mostly for themselves that any more the same will start to turn off advertisers in droves.

    It’s much harder, but there are other places for them to spend their money. If Google takes a financial punch from this they will second-guess their approach.

    After all, how much more time per day and many more new surfers can Google squeeze out of the English-speaking population? They will risk alienating advertisers over a marginal lift in users/involvement ?

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