Google Trying Best Guesses for Search Results
By on October 27th, 2011

Google seems to be experimenting with a new service which will offer a “best guess” as to the answer you’re looking for when you perform a search, not just web pages that contain your search criteria. Very little information is available regarding this service. It does not appear to be officially announced anywhere on Google’s blogs. I have added some screenshots from various queries I performed so you can see what it looks like.

In the image below, I typed “cast of friends” in the search box. It returned most of the main characters as a best guess. Also notice that it shows the sources for its answer. This particular search also had a feedback button at the bottom. When I clicked it, I had to choose a yes or no answer as to whether this was useful information or not.

Cast

Below, I searched for “who is married to ashton kutcher”. Notice it returned “Best guess for Ashton Kutcher Spouse”. I found the wording a little interesting. Notice there is no feedback button on this result.

Ashton

The last search I tried was “capital of kentucky”. It returned “Frankfort” which is correct.

Capital of KY

It appears the service is designed to answer simple questions that may have one or two word answers. If they ever get this perfected, it may be the ultimate Trivial Pursuit resource. In its current state, however, it is pretty unrefined.   In my experience, it was hard to find a pattern of what it would try to guess on. It seemed to consistently tell cast members of TV shows, but it wouldn’t tell you things like “who was the 15th president of the U.S.” I have to say most searches that I tried did not return the best guess. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when it failed to answer my query “how many licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop”. Oh well, you can’t blame a guy for trying.

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Author: Darrin Jenkins Google Profile for Darrin Jenkins
Darrin is an IT manager for a large electrical contractor in Louisville KY. He is married and has 3 kids. He loves helping people with their technology needs. He runs a blog called Say Geek!

Darrin Jenkins has written and can be contacted at darrin@techie-buzz.com.
 
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