Steve Jobs wasn’t all that quotable.

And I know that because of a feature in Google search that delivers formatted results. It’s arguably among the more under-appreciated and revolutionary product enhancements.

You search for Trump or the latest flight and Google surfaces the basic information in a formatted box rather than recommending other links.

This is the Holy Grail of search because it delivers the answers, not a Web site where you still have to search for the answers. It’s not hyperbole to say that delivering the specific result changes search fundamentally.

It also explains why so many tech companies are leveraging natural language processing and better classification to solve the problem.

At Bloomberg we are doing the same in finance. For example, our search engines recognize this complex query: “Corporate dollar bonds due in 2030 with yields over 3 percent” by winnowing down 326,034 securities to deliver 347 that meet that requirement.

Google’s efforts may be under-appreciated because they roll out incrementally. It may work for flights, but not every flight. It works for some people, but not everyone.

I stumbled across the feature that highlights quotes from famous people when doing the Google search: “Quotes by Steve Jobs.”

What popped up at the top of the 81 million results was a box with ten easily accessible quotes from the founder of Apple and Pixar.

The first thing you realize is that Jobs, in spite of being an extraordinary visionary and business legend, was pretty terrible at quote making.

Consider the evidence:

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Making the quotes so accessible, rather than forcing you to click into random Web sites of varying quality, many of them designed as click bait, gets you to the information faster.

Excited by the discovery, I Google “Quotes by Bill Gates.”

Gates may not be Shakespeare, but he was better with a quip.

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I started searching for quotes from other business leaders and right away experienced disappointment . Google doesn’t return formatted results for “Quotes by Jamie Dimon” or “Quotes by Elon Musk” or “Quotes by Tim Cook.”

It’s not clear why it works for some and not others. Google offers links to plenty of articles with comments by Musk or Cook, but they are not pre-formatted.

Warren Buffett makes an appearance, however, and it’s pretty spectacular.

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One lesson from Buffett: when it comes to quotes, shorter is better.

Another: Leaven your advice with humor.

Buffett may be the most quotable business leader, but no one beats the great Yogi Berra.

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*Published by Ted Merz July 5, 2019*