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Google tweaks search results to feature in-depth articles

Sometimes a quick-hit Google search isn't enough to fill you with knowledge, which is why the web giant has unwrapped a feature which adds in-depth articles to search results.

Rolling out over the next few days, the company is adding a new block of results, with more details than a headline and source link can provide.

"To understand a broad topic, sometimes you need more than a quick answer. Our research indicated perhaps 10 per cent of people's daily information needs fit this category—topics like stem cell research, happiness, and love," Google technical staff member Pandu Nayak wrote in a blog post.

Say you're researching censorship, for example. Type the word into the search box, and you'll find an article by Salman Rushdie in The New Yorker, commentary by Google's own Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in the Guardian, and a piece about Iran.

For a good time, you can also search for population growth, capital punishment, and e-waste; just steer clear of looking into pressure cookers.

"I'm happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication. This is exactly what you'll find in the new feature," Nayak said.

Results include well-known publishers alongside lesser-known writers and blogs. Google offered only a bare sketch to explain how the site determines what constitutes an "in depth" article.

"We look at a variety of algorithmic signals designed to surface in-depth articles. We don't have more details to share on the particular mechanisms," a Google spokesperson said.

In June, Google ruffled its search feathers with the launch of an interactive "carousel" for desktop users, adding a sort of merry-go-round of information about local restaurants, bars, and hotels at the top of results pages generated by user searches.