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January 26, 2014

Google Answers Complicated Questions

Google used to only answer simple questions like "who's the prime minister of Canada?" or "what's the population of China?". Thanks to the Knowledge Graph project, Google can answer more complicated questions like "who played Batman?", "what's the latest album of Celine Dion?", "what are the main attractions in Spain?".

Now Google shows direct answers for even more complex questions, but this seems to be limited to the US. Here's an example of question that doesn't have a definitive answer: "what's the distance between Earth and Mars?". I picked a shorter version of the query: "distance to the Mars." Google shows a snippet from a page that answers the question and highlights the distances. Usually, the page is in the first 10 search results and Google shows an extended snippet.

Here's another question: "why is the sky blue?".

Why is the Red Sea called this way? Google has the answer.

Google also answers: "how many work days in a year?", "who owns Lancia?", "who ended world war 2?", "who celebrates presidents day?", "how many countries are there?".

The answers aren't always accurate and sometimes they're incomplete (Will Smith has 3 kids):

While Google's quick answers are often useful, it's a good idea to check if they're accurate.

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