Sep 112014

Who says rivals can’t work together? If you search on Google for “iPhone 6″ or “Apple Watch,” you’ll discover new information boxes about each product that Google created with the help of Apple.

Here’s how it looks for search on iPhone 6:

And for the iPhone 6 Plus:

And for the Apple Watch:

These boxes, commonly called Knowledge Graph boxes, are normally automatically generated by information drawn from various sources, such as Wikipedia. Here’s an example of how that is usually done, in a box for Matthew McConaughey:

matthew_mcconaughey_-_Google_Search 2

In the box, you can see Wikipedia cited as a source, and information is drawn largely from McConaughey page at Wikipedia.

With the Apple product boxes, Apple is cited as a source, with links leading to its overview pages for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch. But the information shown in those boxes, such as the descriptions and the product specs, isn’t on those pages.

Instead, Google told Search Engine Land that it created the boxes manually, rather than rely on automation, and confirmed the information with Apple:

When people are searching very heavily for an entity like this, we do our best to provide useful information on it. This info isn’t available in one place on a website before the official release, so Apple confirmed it with us directly. (In this case the [Apple] link [in the box] is not meant as an attribution; it’s just the place you can go to find out more. We’ll clarify that better in the UI going forward. Also note the UI will naturally change tonight when the iPhone 6 opens for pre-orders.)

It’s fairly unprecedented for Google to have manually compiled information like this. The company generally tries to use automation for all of its search products. But it makes sense, especially given the huge spike in searches for iPhone 6 information, since the device was announced. Here’s a look at that, from Google Trends:

Google Trends: iPhone 6

Having the custom boxes is a way that Google can be certain it’s providing accurate information and not having anything odd appear, as happened recently with a search on how to eat sushi.

Google tells us this isn’t the first time it has done this for product launches, but it’s only been done a few other times. Google also says there’s no payment from Apple involved.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from

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