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Google search results can tell you more about a site before you visit it

Igor Bonifacic
·Contributing Writer
·2-min read

Google is introducing a new feature to help you find out more information about the websites that show up when you use its search engine. Provided you live in the US, as of today, you’ll start to see a three dots icon next to each search result. Tapping on one of those, whether you’re on mobile or desktop, will bring up a description of the website that’s on the other end of the link.

In most instances, that information will come from Wikipedia unless Google points you to one of its services, in which case you’ll get a blurb on how it sourced its data. In cases where neither is available, you get some basic information about the website, such as when it was first indexed. In every instance, there will be a note if your connection to the website is secured through HTTPS.

The feature allows you to do a couple of things, according to Google. First, it saves you the trouble of conducting a second search to find out about the website you’re about to visit. Second, Google suggests the panels will allow you to make more informed decisions about how you use the internet and provide peace of mind if you’re looking for important information related to topics like financial advice.

But with Google leaning so heavily on Wikipedia, the descriptions will only be as useful as the summaries you find on the website. Wikipedia’s editors aren’t perfect, and they haven’t written about every website that’s out there. Additionally, the feature falls into the modern interface design trap of hiding useful information behind an overflow menu. If someone doesn’t know to tap the three dots icon, they can’t advantage of the additional information Google is providing.