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Google Tests Options for Search Blurbs


Longer or shorter, as you like

Google is testing a feature that lets users specify how much data they want to see in the summary sections of their search results.

When a person runs a query on Google, s/he typically gets a long string of websites back. Ideally, the topmost results are most relevant to his or her search. To help that user pinpoint exactly what he or she was looking for, each site features a summary just below the title tag, which is supposed to describe what the user will find on that page.

Below, circled in red, is the summary section for MarketingVOX:

mvox-summary-section.jpg

Summaries are not always helpful. Webmasters sometimes populate them with meaningless keywords intended solely to help them rank higher in search engines — not benefit users.

Only a limited number of people, randomly selected, are involved in Google's summary size-manipulation test. One user on Webmaster World now sees the following options in the upper-left hand of search results:

Web: Result details: S M L

For one top result:

S shows no description
M shows a 161 character description
L shows a 638 character description

Selecting the L setting enabled the user to view a site's description and on-page content, making it possible to determine whether the site actually includes material relevant to the search.

But just because the feature's being tested doesn't mean it will ever go live. Over the summer, Google tested a digg-style voting feature on its search pages, which has yet to go public, reports TechCrunch.

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