Friday, January 24, 2014

Get a Summary of Information About Sites in Google Search Results

Through Dan Russell's excellent Search ReSearch blog I learned that Google has recently added a potentially helpful new aspect to the search results page. Now when you view your search results page you will see the titles of some sites in gray text next to the URL. When you see that gray text click the little drop-down menu to see a brief summary about the owner of the site. For example, in the screenshot below you will see that when I clicked on the gray link next to Washington Post it opened a bit of information about the Washington Post.

Applications for Education
Right now the new summary tool doesn't appear next to every result. In my testing it seems to only appear next to large, well-known sites. In the future it could be a good tool for helping students understand who is behind a website and account for that in evaluating the quality of a site.

On a related note, your students can also find out who is behind a site by looking at the WHOIS information for a site. Students can run a WHOIS search using Go Daddy,, or Whois-Search to see who has registered the domain. When there isn't a proxy in place it's easy to locate the contact information (email, phone, fax, mail) for the person or organization that registered the domain. In some cases the person or organization that registered the domain might have used a proxy to hide their contact information. If that is the case it can be hard to find the contact information. Likewise, a Whois search will not work for subdomains. An example of a blog on a subdomain is