I have just got back into the office and have been greeted by a new feature in Google’s SERPs that I haven’t personally seen before.

It is possible that I have been blind to it before, but pretty much every ‘what is’ search that I can think of is resulting in a whacking great big definition, most of which have links of to Wikipedia, Dictionary.com or Answers.com.

Here is an example:

Definitions invade the SERPs

 

Pretty hard to miss, so I am sure that it must be a new feature that Google is testing. Would be interested to know if this is old hat to other users or a new feature being tested.

Not sure what I think really – it is definitely in your face. It would be helpful if the definition was actually a decent definition (‘what is scampi’ is an example where you do indeed see a good definition of what a scampi actually is) but the example above isn’t exactly very compelling and is basically completely useless without clicking through for more information.

Whilst Wikipedia has always ranked well for a lot of phrases, I can’t help fearing that this step my encourage the spammers to start hitting Wikipedia even harder so it will be interesting to see if other, less known, sites are used as authorities. I hope that they do.

Not a bad effort by Google to help give you the information that you are looking for with minimum fuss, but not ideal?

  • http://twitter.com/gregbem Greg Bem

    Though I find the definition boxes a bit large, the user experience enhancements for finding denotative meanings of specific words, phrases, and concepts is great for UX. No need to visit the ad-heavy dictionary sites anymore.