Google: Not the Trendsetter This Time

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    Google Inc. prides itself on setting trends, but it appears to be copying some of its smaller rivals with the latest refinements to the way it displays Internet search results.

    Google Inc. prides itself on setting trends, but it appears to be copying some of its smaller rivals with the latest refinements to the way it displays Internet search results.

    After months of testing, Google tweaked its technology Tuesday to occasionally display longer descriptions of Web sites in response to search requests consisting of several words.

    The expanded snippets will contain three or four lines from Web sites instead of the usual one or two lines.

    The switch is designed to give Google's audience a better sense of what information a Web site has even before users click on the link.

    It's something lesser known search engines already have been trying to do, either by posting longer descriptions or providing capsule snapshots of the Web pages that show up in their results.

    In another minor change, Google said it has improved its formula for posting suggestions pointing to other topics that might be tied to a search request.