Who wins basketball games is an immutable fact. No one owns that information, so why should some random sports sites get the windfall of traffic as millions of sports fan search Google for the NCAA March Madness bracket? In Google’s latest application of making the world’s information universally accessible, it’s now embedding the bracket at the top of a variety of search results.
Once upon a time, websites would fight SEO wars to be the top result for the most basic questions like “What time does the Super Bowl start?”, or “When is St. Patrick’s Day”, or “San Francisco weather”. But taking answers that no one technically owns and burying them behind an extra click made Google an unnecessary kingmaker. It was also a waste of time for everyone. Wasting time and playing favorites isn’t Google’s jam.
Well, except that it has no problem crowning itself king of information. So Google software engineer Dan Vanderkam and his team built the March Madness bracket right into results for “Basketball bracket”, “March Madness”, “NCAA tournament” and other related searches. The embedded bracket instantly gives you each game’s round, teams, rankings, date, and time, score, and winner. The expandable embed is even richer than Google’s college hoops plan for last year. Meanwhile, Yahoo buries a janky looking bracket deep down in the results, and Bing just gives me a list of links when I search for “March Madness Bracket”.
If you want deeper information, skip down to Google’s results from NCAA.com, Huffington Post, and SBNation. But if all you want to know is who’s playing when and if your winner predictions came true, Google’s got you covered instantly. Google does the same for a variety of information, from flights to Olympic medal counts to biographies through its Knowledge Graph.
And I’m totally fine with that. Publishers should seek to succeed through depth, commentary, visualization, analysis, research, and personality, not just SEO. I don’t search because I want links, or results. I want answers, and as long as Google stays dedicated to giving them to me, I’ll keep coming back. Information just wants to be free, man.
[Image via the hilarious Toothpaste For Dinner]