GOOGLE knows every answer

Useful answers, helpful formats

Larry Page once said that the perfect search engine understands exactly what you're looking for and delivers exactly the results you want. Our tests over the years have shown that users want to get answers to their search queries as quickly as possible. We have significantly improved our algorithms in order to present you with the most relevant answers to your question in the most appropriate format as quickly as possible.

When you search for "weather", you probably want to see the weather forecast, not just links to weather-related websites. The same applies to driving directions: If you search for "How to get to Cologne Airport", the result should be a map with directions, not just links to other websites. This is especially important on mobile devices, which have limited bandwidth and where switching between websites is sometimes very slow.

Thousands of developers and scientists work on refining the algorithms and developing useful new search methods. Below are some of our innovations. In 2018, we made around 3,234 improvements to Google search. So these examples are just a small sample of our efforts to make Google search even better.

  • Knowledge graph

    Example: How high is the Eiffel Tower?

    In 2012 we introduced the Knowledge Graph, a database containing information on more than a billion people, places and issues with over 50 billion facts and links. The world consists of real things, not text modules. Therefore we show the respective connections in the Knowledge Graph. You will quickly find answers to questions like "What is the Eiffel Tower?", "How high is it?", "When was it opened?" and you can then use links to explore further information on this on the web.

  • Directions and traffic situation

    Example: Directions to "Unter den Linden"

    Users who enter an address such as "Unter den Linden" in Google search usually do not search for websites that mention this street name. Rather, they want to know where that street is and how to get there. So we developed a clickable and draggable map so that users can easily explore the area.

  • Immediate results

    Example: Filmpalast opening times

    Sometimes you want to get immediate results for your searches. That's why we work with companies that can provide the information and services you want, and we license the content to show useful answers right on the search results page. For example, if you are looking for a local cinema program, we will work with data providers who can provide up-to-date and reliable information about the cinema programs in your area, as well as ticket providers so that you can buy the tickets you want. In this way, we also make the weather forecast and the results of sporting events available directly on the search results page.

  • Highlighted snippets

    Example: What is the Bundestag?

    When you ask Google a question, we try to make the answer quick and easy for you. With highlighted snippets, we draw your attention to programmatically generated snippets from websites that our algorithms have returned as the relevant answer to the question asked. All highlighted snippets contain an excerpt extracted from a third-party website, a link to the relevant page, and the title and URL of the page.

  • Rich lists

    Example: famous women astronomers

    The best answer to a question is not always a single entry, but may be a list or group of people, places, or things. For example, if you search for [North Sea lighthouses] or [famous female astronomers], we'll show you all the results in one line at the top of the page. By combining the Knowledge Graph with all the knowledge of the web, we can compile lists for questions like [best action film 2018] or [places of interest in Rome]. If you click on an entry, you can take a closer look at the corresponding result on the web.

  • Pursue my interests with Discover

    Even if you don't have a specific question in mind, you may want to be inspired by the things that interest you most. That's why we created Discover. Discover is a personalized feed that appears on the Google app, Android home screens, and the Google Mobile homepage. This allows you to explore content tailored to your interests. You can also customize Discover by following topics and indicating if you'd like to see more or less about a specific topic.

Keep up with the ever changing web

The web is always changing, with hundreds of new websites being published every second. This is also reflected in the results of Google search: We crawl the web continuously to index new content. Depending on the search query, the results displayed can change quickly, while others are valid for a relatively long time. For example, if you're looking for the results of a sporting event, we need to deliver results that are accurate to the second. Search results for a historical personality, on the other hand, are likely to remain unchanged for years.

Google currently receives trillions of searches a year. Every day, 15% of searches are brand new. The development of search algorithms that deliver the most relevant results for all search queries is a complex task that we constantly check for quality and in which we continue to invest.

Our mission: overview

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