Google said on Wednesday that it’s rolling out a new format for “Featured snippets” that will try to answer multiple different interpretations of a vague search query.
Featured snippets are the boxed results that Google puts at the top of the page, based on an algorithmic determination of the best answer to a query.
Google’s new “Multi-faceted snippets” will provide several actionable answers to a broad query.
Google is currently only rolling out multi-faceted snippets that answer different possible implied questions, but Moxley said the plan is to expand the format to guidance-seeking questions with multiple components, like “Is it worth fixing my foundation?” That query could return snippets about cost, duration, and methods.
Because of its featured snippets and Knowledge Graph, Google’s Assistant could answer 68 percent of queries, with 90.6 percent of its answers correct, according to Stone Temple’s most recent survey, compared to 56.5 percent of questions with 81.9 percent accuracy for Cortana, 21.7 percent and 62.2 percent for Siri, and 20.7 percent and 87 percent for Alexa.
While most of its answers are correct, Google has still made some unpleasant mistakes, like returning cringe-worthy answers for “Are women evil?” or “Are Republicans fascists?” Most recently, Google hit a public relations snafu when people discovered that Home speakers could tell a user about Buddha or Mohammed, but not Jesus.
The company has since disabled answers for all religious figures, since those answers are susceptible to “Vandalism or spam”.