Google has begun hiding full search results for certain types of queries and providing only direct answers instead.
This change appears to be affecting queries that involve time in different cities, math calculations, and unit conversions.
For example, searching for “time in India” will provide a SERP like the one below:
Here’s an example of a math calculation:
Lastly, here’s an example of a unit conversion (fun fact: this is the current temperature where I live):
I tested many different queries and found that Google will only hide the full set of search results under certain conditions.
If there are other possible interpretations of the query then Google will return a full set of search results.
Searching for “5×5” will return a calculation box, as well as search results for a weightlifting program.
Similarly, searching for “time in London” will also return results for the publication Times of London.
In addition, unit conversions have to be very specific.
Searching for “1L to oz” will return a blank set of search results, but searching for “liters to ounces” will return a full page.
This change appears to not apply at all to currency, which should be good news for all the currency conversion sites out there.
Lastly, I found that Google will only hide search results on mobile devices using the Chrome browser.
Full sets of search results are always shown when conducting these types of queries in another browser, like Safari.
So Google is likely trying to speed things up for mobile users looking for highly specific answers.
However, in the process, Google may be detracting from clicks to other publishers.