The new ability to see datasets in search results is aimed at helping scientific research, business analysis, or public policy creators get access to data quickly, according to Natasha Noy, research scientist, and Omar Benjelloun, software engineer at Google Research in a blog post.

Google search engine users can click on any of the top three results to get to the dataset page or explore further by clicking “More datasets.” Users will get essential metadata about datasets and previews of the data where available and they can then go to the repositories that host the datasets. 

This feature is powered by Dataset Search, a search engine specifically designed for datasets, which has indexed over 45 million datasets from over 13,000 websites. Dataset Search gathers information from various areas including government, scientific, and commercial datasets.

Dataset Search indexes dataset pages that contain structured data and displays key elements such as description, license, temporal and spatial coverage, and available download formats.

Google encourages dataset authors to ensure that their web pages have machine-readable metadata so that Dataset Search can find it more easily. The best way to do this is to publish in a dataset repository that automatically includes this metadata. 

“In the scientific community and throughout various levels of the public sector, reproducibility and transparency are essential for progress, so sharing data is vital. For one example, in the United States a recent new policy requires free and equitable access to outcomes of all federally funded research, including data and statistical information along with publications,” the blog authors wrote. “As data sharing continues to grow and evolve, we will continue to make datasets as easy to find, access, and use as any other type of information on the web.”