Google announced today that it will be providing news organizations ways to improve data presentation in Search results, making it easier for users to discover whatever information they seek. The refined data display methods were identified after consultation with top data journalists from various news organizations.
Making data more accessible is part of the tech giant's Google News Initiative, through which it is working with the journalism industry in order to "build a stronger future for news". To that effect, it partnered with 30 of the top data journalists in order to find ways to improve the presentation of information in tabular form. Based on these collaborations, a better way of presenting data in Search was identified. Basically, news organizations will now be able to add structured data in a format more suitable for search results, thereby making it easier for users to easily find and identify the information they are looking for.
One of said organizations, ProPublica, has employed this improved method of presenting search results. The comparison between previous results and the ones that will be displayed now can be observed below:
As is apparent from the part of the image on the right, data in tabular form is directly displayed as the top search result. This does not only make the information easier to locate for users, but also presents it in a more readable form. Moreover, structured data can be added to the existing code of a webpage with considerable ease. Importantly, this isn't the first time Google has employed use of indexed data in its Search; however, news organizations are only now being included as part of this initiative.
Scott Klein, Deputy Managing Editor at ProPublica, commented on the improved presentation of relevant information as part of search results, noting:
As a news organization that is focused on having real-world impact, it’s very much in our mission to give people information at the point of need. If we can make the data we’ve worked hard to collect and prepare available to people at the very moment when they’re researching a big life decision, and thereby help them make the best decision they can, it’s an absolute no-brainer for us. And the code is trivial to add.
Google has been working to improve its search engine in the past few months, toying with the idea of a complete makeover, and more recently, redesigning image search for desktop users. Helping display information in a more comprehensible form can be considered a step in the right direction.