Google’s Danny Sullivan published an explainer page on Google that provided details on how Google selects certain kinds of featured snippets.
The newly published article explains the role of time and place (geographic location) as signals that could trigger featured snippets.
The article was limited to two factors, time and geographic location (Danny used the word, space). He then used the phrase “critical context” to describe the importance of those two signals.
It’s interesting that he used the phrase “Critical Context” as a way to describe what the meaning of a surge in particular search queries might mean.
Critical context is a word used in literature studies to describe the process of understanding what a piece of literature means, including finding hidden relationships, allusions, metaphors and references to events past or present at the time of writing. The purpose of literary critical context was to better understand a particular written work.
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The phrase is also used within the research of Natural Language Processing algorithms.
For example, in a sample from a book published by O’Reilly related to information retrieval, there’s a reference to critical context as being important for understanding semantic meaning.
Here is what the book excerpt says:
“…the most fundamental weaknesses of TF-IDF and cosine similarity are that these models inherently don’t leverage a deep semantic understanding of the data and throw away a lot of critical context.”
This is what Danny Sullivan published:
“Critical context, like time and place, also helps us understand what