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Search engines have traditionally focused on building lists. Increasingly, they’re turning to the rectangular display of information: Boxes and tables. Boxes require extracting the relevant information and presenting it four-square in front of the user. While lists sort in a single dimension, tables show at least two dimensions. Boxes and rectangles are useful filters.

Google today announced the further boxing and tabling of data, in response (one supposes) to The Google Blog recommends trying searching for dog breeds, broadway shows, catherine zeta-jones date of birth, or zebra. (Look for the “something different” list in the left margin when you do the zebra search.) I especially like the summary of sources Google gives when it flat-out answers a question.

More boxes! More tables!

2 Responses to “The rectangular display of information”

  1. on 07 Jun 2010 at 5:29 amPhil Simon

    Great stuff, David. I’m nearly finished with your book and it’s one of the best that I’ve read in a long time.

    This type of thing makes the semantic web more tangible to people. The implications for this type of thing are huge, as I don’t have to tell you.

    If you’d ever like to do a podcast with me about your book, let me know.


  2. on 20 Oct 2011 at 10:33 amImam

    More keywords, more complex, more tables!