Google has introduced episode information for popular TV shows in its search results.
Announced in a post yesterday, the change means that the air dates for the episodes in a series - past and future - will appear when the user searches for the name of a show (followed by 'tv show' if there is ambiguity).
Users can then click on an individual episode name to generate new search results for that episode, such as reviews, analysis and fan sites. For example, fans of Game of Thrones can now see the US start date of season four and recap on the end of season three with just one search and a couple of clicks.
The episode information has been added to the search engine's Knowledge Graph, where it appears alongside characters, cast, a Wikipedia summary, and ratings.
All this information is available while remaining on the SERPs, while Google's recent introduction of filters and comparisons in the Knowledge Graph means users can explore extensively without ever leaving Google. However, many have today suggested this move puts the search engine in competition with TV content resources such as IMDb and TV Guide, traditionally the go-to sites for finding this information.
Further speculation from Search Engine Land centred around why Google hasn't yet included a sponsored listing or link through to an official (legal) streaming site. The search giant has previously faced criticism for including links to pirated material in its search results.
Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, commented: "This is a very minor update from Google, and will just make it that bit easier for TV fans to find information and get excited about the next episode. However, it serves as a reminder of what a great tool the Knowledge Graph is, and makes you wonder whether Google has any intention of profiting from it."