Over the last ten years there is little doubt that Google has become the go-to for information. It now seems Google knows everything about everything and with the constant debate surrounding Google’s use of privacy and information on individual users it seems Google’s database is ever-growing and ever-knowing. The days are now gone when someone would have to read through a book to confirm a fact they had been told by a friend the night before. Instead, now before someone finishes telling a friend an interesting fact, the familiar view of the listener pulling out their phone and checking Google is commonplace. If you don’t know it, Google it!
Well it seems Google is constantly trying to offer us more and more tidbit and bite-sized pieces of information quicker and quicker. An interesting observation has been noted on Google’s search results this morning. Now, when certain historical persons or locations are searched for and in addition to the standard two to three lines of information under each link we are seeing small ‘facts’ about the search term. An example of this is ‘King of Rome’. When this term is searched, in addition to the quick blurb under Wikipedia there also seems to be a small fact line which lists “Last monarch: Lucius Superbus Monarchy ended: 509 BC“. This also seems to be working for certain locations. If the term ‘Duchy of Amalfi’ is searched for the Wiki listing also shows “Region: Campania Saint day: 30 November Postal code: 84011 Patron saint: Saint Andrew“. At present this micro pieces of information only seem to be present under the Wikipedia pages and only for a select number of people and places. For instance more commonly search locations such as ‘London’ or ‘New York’ do not currently list any additional facts. As such there is no indication of why the terms that do work are working. It is also worth noting that some of the terms display interesting results. For instance, when searching for ‘Richard Nixon Legacy’ the micro fact provided lists “President: Dwight D. Eisenhower Years of service: 1942-1946 Vice President: Spiro Agnew (1969-1973…) Political party: Republica”. Somewhat ignoring that Nixon himself was vice-president during the Eisenhower era.
So at the moment it is unknown whether this is a new step for Google’s search results and if we can expect little micro facts appearing under all the links. Instead, it seems only certain people and places and only under the Wikipedia blurb are in use. This may be just a testing platform for Google, but either way the micro facts are starting to appear. Next time you’re told a ‘fact’ by a friend you might be able to prove them wrong even quicker than before. If you notice anymore facts appearing today or more importantly any strange out-of-context facts like the Nixon one then let us know.