Google has confirmed to Search Engine Land that they have launched Islamic prayer times in Google search.
The prayer times can be triggered for some queries that seem to be asking for that information and also include geographic designators, such as [prayer times mecca], where Islamic prayer times are relevant. It’s possible that queries without a specific location term, but conducted from one of those locations, would also trigger the prayer times, but we weren’t able to test that functionality.
A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land “coinciding with Ramadan, we launched this feature in a number of predominantly Islamic countries to make it easier to find prayer times for locally popular queries.”
“We continue to explore ways we can help people around the world find information about their preferred religious rituals and celebrations,” Google added.
Here is a screen shot of prayer times done on desktop search:
Google gives you the ability to customize the calculation method used to figure out when the prayer times are in that region. Depending on your religious observance, you may hold one method over another. Here are the available Islamic prayer time calculation methods that Google offers:
Not all queries return this response, and some may return featured snippets as opposed to this specific prayer times box. So please do not be confused when you see a featured snippet versus a prayer-time one-box.
This is what a featured snippet looks like in comparison to the image above:
The most noticeable way to tell this isn’t a real prayer-times box is that you cannot change the calculation method in the featured snippet. In my opinion, it would make sense for Google to remove the featured snippets for prayer times so searchers aren’t confused. Since featured snippets may be delayed, they probably aren’t trustworthy responses for those who rely on these prayer times. Smart answers are immediate and are calculated by Google directly.
Back in 2011, Google launched prayer times rich snippets, but about a year later, Google killed off the feature. Now, Google has deployed this new approach without using markup or schema; instead, Google does the calculation internally without depending on third-party resources or websites.