Google intros Q&A service

Google Inc. on Thursday began delivering factual answers for some queries at the top of its results page, to save users from having to navigate over to other sites and look for the information. For example, if a user enters the query "Portugal population," Google returns the answer -- 10.5 million -- along with a link to the Web page where the information came from, which in this case is the population page of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's Factbook.

The query "who is Jane Fonda?" triggers the answer "... is an Academy Award winning American actress, model, writer, producer, activist and philanthropist" and provides the link to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia's entry for the actress. A small percentage of queries currently trigger these factual answers, but the service, called Google Q&A, is in its early stages, said Peter Norvig, Google's director of search quality.

News source: Macworld

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