Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research, says that the company is mulling a change in the company’s role in academia – from that of quick-and-dirty answer finder to a more "curriculum-based" research tool, according to CNET.

The tech news website reports that "the knowledge gained from services like Google can be a mile wide and an inch deep: data points don’t organize themselves into concepts and ideas," adding that Norvig’s new proposals are aimed at addressing such concerns. While Google already offers a Scholar search engine, this merely makes academic papers available in the same way that its search engine does web pages.

Norvig told British tech news site The Register that "we need to do a better job of supporting people who are taking a class or want to really learn something – something that’s not just about coming into [the Google core search engine] for five minutes, but where someone wants to be led to a task over the course of a semester or a year."

Experts say that search engine optimization (SEO) would be affected by the launch of such a project, but there is insufficient information available to indicate exactly how.