Home / Internet Geek / How Smart is Google Quick Answer Box? – Interesting & Incorrect Results

How Smart is Google Quick Answer Box? – Interesting & Incorrect Results

[Estimated read time: 9 minutes]

What is Quick Answer Box?

For few queries, Google gives you some sort of answers (at top position) followed by a series of search results. This is one of the SERP features of Google displayed in light gray box. They are designed to give you quick and short answers, without digging into any particular webpage.

Where do the answers come from?

Google doesn’t create any answer, they just extract the key phrases present in a web page which are already indexed in Google and present the most relevant results (usually from high authority sites). Moreover, the algorithms they used to extract the answers were never disclosed by the company.
Read: 200 Google Ranking Factors (predicted) 

The types of Google Answer Box

At present, there are 5 types of Answer box: Web Definition, Google Widget, Website Extraction, Google Dictionary and Video Widget. The answer boxes jumped up remarkably in the last couple of months. It appears for over 3% of all search queries.

Google Answer Box Type and Queries

Let’s find out how smart Google Answer box actually is. We have done some experiments/testing to find out the accuracy of these answer boxes. And what we all got is listed below

 Helpful Short Answers

“Steve Jobs Death”

steve jobs death

The death information along with the location is available.

“Larry Page Job”

larry page job

The profession of notable personalities.

“Satya Nadella Education”

satya nadella education

Where did Satya Nadella get his education? Google has the special pattern to display answers of these kinds of queries.

“Twitter Founder”

twitter founder

Who’s the person behind the famous startups? Just write the company name followed by the keyword “founder”.

“Nfl Score”

nfl score

Get the live score update for games like football, cricket, tennis, basketball and more.

“When Did Titanic Sink”

when did titanic sink

Google actually understands what you are asking. The answer box covers major keywords like who, when, what, where etc.

“How Many Seats In Wankhede Stadium”

how many seats in wankhede stadium

This shows that how well Google make use of synonyms.

“Carlos Slim Nationality”

carlos slim nationality

These kinds of data are usually extracted from Wikipedia’s page.

“Marks Zuckerberg’s Dad”

marks zuckerberg's dad

The search box also knows the relationship connections.

“California Unemployment Rate”

california unemployment rate

An interesting, rich answer box showing related country/city stats.

“When Mangalyaan Was Launched”

when mangalyaan was launched

Along with the data, it also displays a small useful description.

“New Delhi Area”

new delhi area

No graph, no tourist website, no definition. Just a straightforward answer.

“Weather”

weather

It will give you the quick weather information based on your location. You can also search weather “city name”.

“Goa Language”

goa language

How many people speak Hindi in Goa? It’s just 5 percent.

“Cm of Mumbai”

cm of mumbai

Yeah, now you can enhance your general knowledge quite faster than before.

“New Delhi Dialing Code”

new delhi dialing code

The telephone directory is now completely dead, I think.

“How Old Is Jupiter”

how old is jupiter

The answer box has pretty much knowledge of our universe.

“China Currency”

china currency

Yep, Chine also runs on money.

“Dollar To Euro”

dollar to euro

A quick conversion tool that gives you the exact/updated conversion rate.

“Diameter Of Mars”

Diameter of Mars

As I said, Google knows enough about the whole universe.

“How Far Is Mcdonald’s”

how far is mcdonald's

No need to say, the results are based on your location.

“Bits In Gigabytes”

bits in gigabytes

Here is the conversion tool for computer geeks.

“Sin X + Cos X”

sin x + cos x

Not only this, they also have graphs of other mathematics equations and entities like Sinx, Cosx, Tanx, Polynomials etc.

“Calorie In Egg”

calorie in egg

Aha, finally a quick tool to control your unnecessary eating habits.

“Thanksgiving Day”

thanksgiving day

Find dates of upcoming holidays (excluding minor ones).

“Sunrise”

Sunrise

Gives you the exact sunrise and sunset time based on your location.

“Time”

Time

Get the current time, day, date, month and year.

“30 Min Timer”

30 min timer

Do you know that you can use the Google search box as an alarm. You need to keep your browser tab open.

“Ibm Headquarters”

ibm headquarters

Get the corporate headquarters location of many giant companies.

“Day Length In Mercury”

day length in mercury

That’s a very long time to get old.

“Dark Knight Sequel”

dark knight sequel

Get the name of movie sequels.

“Capital Of Sri Lanka”

capital of sri lanka

Yeah, Google is also strong in geography.

“National Animal of America”

national animal of america

The algorithm used to bold the certain words is quite impressive.

“What Is Machine”

what is machine

Google displays the basic definition of almost all terms.

“Flight To Mumbai”

flight to mumbai

You can look up the flight schedule within a single click.

“Tk1984”

TK1984

The answer box dedicated to fight information. You just need to enter the flight number to see whether it’s on time or not.

“Cancer Symptoms”

cancer symptoms

Information related to medical field is usually extracted from trusted sources only.

“Astonish Meaning”

astonish meaning

You can also translate words to any language. For example “astonish meaning in french”.

“When Was Harry Potter Born”

when was harry potter born

Here’s the date of birth of most popular fictional character. Similarly, you can also search for “Harry potter author”, “Matrix movie list” etc.

“How Much Does An Elephant Weigh”

how much does an elephant weigh

Most of the animal information is extracted from Wikipedia’s page.

“Who Built Taj Mahal”

who built taj mahal

You can also check out other architects and groups behind famous mega structures.

“Samsung Stock”

Samsung stock

The stock answer box tool shows all companies’ stock data over a time period of up to 5 years.

“How Tall Is Angelina Jolie”

how tall is angelina jolie

Find out how tall your favorite celebs are. The answer box also shows the same data of related personalities.

“Johnny Depp’s Kids”

Johnny depp kids

You can also check out other relationship like mother, spouse, father etc.

“Tom Cruise Birthday”

tom cruise birthday

Another example of date answer box with richer content.

“How Old Is Pamela Anderson”

how old is pamela anderson

For women, it is getting really tough to hide their real age.

“Avenger 2 Trailer”

avenger 2 trailer

Just write the movie name followed by keyword “trailer” and most probably you will see a YouTube video box with a link.

“Transcendence Director”

transcendence director

The answer box is also available for other related queries like film producer, screenplay, story writer, awards and more.

“When Did Angelina Jolie Get Married”

when did angelina jolie get married

Now don’t ask for wedding clips 🙂

 Smart and Interesting Answers

“How Fast Is Lamborghini Aventador”

how fast is lamborghini aventador

Google displays the answer box for other related queries including cars, bikes, ships, trains and airplanes.

“How Many Floors In Kingdom Tower”

how many floors in kingdom tower

Do you know how many floors Kingdom Tower has? You do now.

“How to Invert Selection In Paint.net”

how to invert selection in paint.net

No more need to get into the website to get a small piece of information.

“How to Extract Bookmarks From Google Chrome”

how to extract bookmarks from google chrome

An example of very small helpful tutorial.

“How To Reset Android Phone”

how to reset android phone

Another example of useful tutorial in a list format.

“The Originals Rating”

The originals rating

You can check out the rating of some popular television series. However, the rating answer box is not available yet.

“When Did The Founder Of Ferrari Die”

when did the founder of ferrari die

You don’t have to mention the name of the person to find his/her information. The Google answer box shows the intelligence of search algorithms.

“When Did Linkedin Go Public”

when did linkedin go public

The answer will be more accurate if they include a year or if they extract the information from a recent updated page.

“How Many People Died In 9/11”

how many people died in 9 11

In almost all cases, answer extracted from Wikipedia pages seems perfect.

“How Much Does A Ferrari Cost”

how much does a ferrari cost

Great answer but the last 3 lines doesn’t need to be there.

“When Did Angelina Adopted Maddox”

when did angelina adopted maddox

Apology for overdose! No more examples related to Angelina Jolie.

“When To Take Pregnancy Test”

when to take pregnancy test

Google is very strict and accurate when it comes to health related information.

“How Much Does An Abortion Cost”

how much does an abortion cost

Google has experimented enough in the medical niche. Here is the example of another answer box, extracting information from a trusted source for a medical or health related queries.

“Who Is Matt Cutts”

1 who is matt cutts 1

It shows that Google also extracts the information from pages like about us/me etc. So it’s better to keep your introduction page updated.

“Why Sky Is Blue”

why sky is blue

This is an example of perfect small answer.

“How Much Does Ceo Of Apple Make”

how much does ceo of apple make

The answer could have been better and much more informative if they had included article date at bottom.

“Who Owns The Internet”

who owns the internet

Smart answer to a stupid question.

“How Much Facebook Paid For Fb.com Domain”

how much facebook paid for fb.com domain

Other similar queries are “how much Facebook paid for Whatsapp”, “how much Google paid for YouTube”, “how much Apple paid for Beats” etc.

“How to Drive Stick Shift”

how to drive stick shift

The truth is you can’t learn it online.

“Why Do We Yawn”

why do we yawn

An example where the image has been extracted from the same article.

“How To Boil Eggs”

how to boil eggs

Another example of answer box showing information in listed format.

“How Much Does Passport Cost”

how much does passport cost

The result/information varies according to the location.

“How Much Does A Dozen Of Roses Cost”

how much does a dozen of roses cost

If you are single then congratulation you have saved at least $73.

 Incorrect Answers by Google

“What Is Maximum Clock Speed Of Amd Processor”

what is maximum clock speed of amd processor

This is quite shocking and worst answer I got. Instead of AMD, Google is showing all information of Intel processors.

“How Far Is Pluto From Sun”

how far is pluto from sun

In this case, Google seems pretty confused about relating entities and attributes.

“Justin Bieber Net Worth”

justin bieber net worth

Things get automatically worse if Justin Bieber is involved in there 🙂 Just kidding. Along with Justin, Google is showing estimated net worth of Miley Cyrus and that’s OK. But the title and paragraph of answer box are quite misguiding.

“How Much Does Steve Ballmer Make”

how much does steve ballmer make

Another vague result extracted from shady site.

“When Was iPhone 7 Launched”

when was iphone 7 launched

Another example where Google fails to relate entity and attribute correctly.

“How Much Does Google Make”

how much does google make

All is correct here except the image. This picture (extracted directly from the article) has nothing to do with the query. Moreover, Google understands the image through title, alternative text and description only, which is one of the major weak points of all search engines.

“What Is Seo Company”

what is seo company

I asked about “SEO company”, Not “SEO”.

“When Was iPhone 6 Released”

when was iphone 6 released

Does Google have dedicated algorithms for iPhone searches… 🙂 By the way, this is the second error related to iPhone query.

 Expected Upcoming Features of Google Answer Box

My inbox

This might be coming soon. It will display your Gmail inbox messages (if you’re logged in) in search results.

Color code

Like calculator, converters and graphs, Google may include HEX, RGB, RGBA color code tool in answer box.

Straight forward Answers in Yes or No

Sometimes users need a straight forward answer, without any explanation. For those users, Google may add Yes/No type answer boxes which will give you answers in yes or no only (with a related link) for specific type of queries like “Is YouTube banned in China”.

What’s new Today

For some queries like “what’s new on internet”, “today’s trending” etc. Google might extract headlines or paragraph from popular news sources (or website like digg.com) to provide quick news on answer box.

What Is My Screen Resolution

At present, Google shows answer box for “what is my IP” but in upcoming months you might also get screen resolution and related details in the answer box.

Movie Rating

Just write the name of the movie and get the rating and review links direct from answer box.

Name of the movie that…

Because of hummingbird algorithm, Google actually knows what you are trying to say. For example, if you type “movie based on Steve jobs and Bill gates”, it shows you the name of movie (usually from IMDB or Wikipedia page) instead of returning any forum question results that matches the exact string. In future, there might be a separate answer box for this.

The Alternatives List

Google may also add alternative answer box type for specific queries like “paint.net alternative”, “notepad alternative” etc. which will show you 5-6 alternatives in a list format.

Best place for dinner

Based on the location, rating and your g+ account, Google answer box will suggest you the suitable and worthy place.

Conclusion

Working of Search engines changed a lot in the last couple of years. Mostly because of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. They are continually getting better with time. But in very rare cases, sometimes Google delivers wrong results, especially when it comes to website extraction answer box. It shows that Google is still not perfectly inferring attributes from search results.
Everyday, Google finds more effective ways to interact with users and provide more accurate results. Overall, it’s a smartest search software based robot which is learning from its own mistakes plus user’s input.

  • Jack Smith

    Like to see Google take it to the next level and allow comparing two nodes in the knowledge graph. So for example who is taller Trump or Obama?

    Or will it be colder in montreal or toronto today?