Google is adding a new feature to search today that will let you know when it thinks the search results it’s offering aren’t that good.
“It looks like there aren’t any great matches for your search,” the message reads, before prompting users with suggestions that may help get better results, along with other related searches to try.
It’s not a wholly new idea; Google will already tell you if there aren’t any results — something that’s increasingly rare as the internet gets bigger and bigger and as Google gets better at analyzing and indexing the web. (One only need look at the nearly vanished sport of hunting for a “Googlewhack” or a search phrase that results in just a single result on Google.) Google also offers recommendations for more accurate spelling and phrasing to help minimize bad searches.
But sometimes, the company admits, the results that Google comes up with just aren’t particularly helpful. Even in the nearly infinite chasms of the internet, some searches just don’t have good results.
Google says that the feature shouldn’t show up too often — after all, the idea is that Google search will produce good results that help you with what you’re looking for. But the feature should be a useful addition. Sometimes, knowing that an answer isn’t out there can be almost as helpful as finding the answer in the first place.