Wall Street Journal: Google is about to make one of the biggest changes in its history to its Web search engine. In addition to presenting users with a page of links where they might find the information they are seeking, Google will offer facts and straight answers to questions typed into the search box. For example, if someone enters “Lake Tahoe,” Google will return a list of facts about the lake–it’s location, depth, altitude, etc.–as well as a list of links. If someone enters “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?” Google will provide a list.
This new type of searching relies on a technology known as “semantic search.” Semantic search won’t replace traditional keyword search, but Google will be rolling it out as an additional feature over the next few months.