Search Engine Land has posted an article on Google's OneBox Patent Application. The Google Help Center Search Results Page, describes OneBox results:
Google's search technology finds many sources of specialized information. Those that are most relevant to your search are included at the top of your search results. Typical onebox results include news, stock quotes, weather and local websites related to your search.
Search Engine Land reports:
“Many patent filings include a "Description of Related Art" section where they often define a reason for the creation of their invention. This one tells us that:
Some search engine systems can provide various types of information as the search results. For example, a search engine system might be capable of providing search results relating to web pages, news articles, images, merchant products, usenet pages, yellow page entries, scanned books, and/or other types of information. Typically, a search engine system provides separate interfaces to these different types of information.
When a user provides a search query to a standard search engine system, the user is typically provided with links to web pages. If the user desires another type of information (e.g., images or news articles), the user typically needs to access a separate interface provided by the search engine system.
While Google shows tabs that searchers can select to view results for other kinds of information repositories, it's not unusual for people to ignore those, or as Danny writes in his article on invisible tabs, to suffer from "tab blindness." The OneBox is a solution to that problem. But how does Google know when to show which types of results?
A system receives a search query from a user and searches a group of repositories, based on the search query, to identify, for each of the repositories, a set of search results. The system also identifies one of the repositories based on a likelihood that the user desires information from the identified repository and presents the set of search results associated with the identified repository.”