Google is adding more context, continuity, and control to your daily Search activity.
Google Search is now 20 years old. To mark the occasion, Google rolled out a host of new features to revamp its most iconic product. The idea is to help people more accurately with long-term searches in areas of health, travel, education, and so on.
There are now Activity Cards that show up on top of your search feed if you have repeat searches on the same query or topic. This adds more context and continuity to your search activity on Google. Another related feature is Collections, which allows you to save past searches and content suggestions.
On its mobile browser, Google is adding to its newsfeed a feature called Discover that throws up content most relevant to you (depending on your search patterns). It could be articles on a sports club you support, or a bar you frequent, or a TV show you love, and so on. (Yeah, Google knows it all.)
Other than recent news, Discover will also display links that provide deeper, historical content on a topic. A small slider on the lower-left corner of each card will let you increase or decrease the amount of news you choose to see in your mobile newsfeed. Additionally, Discover will support multilingual feeds.
“Think of it as your new mobile homepage where you can not only search, but also discover useful, relevant information and inspiration from across the web for the topics you care about most. This will be rolling out over the next few weeks,” Google said in a statement.
Google also announced that its feed now has over 800 million users, and has led to 2.5X more traffic to publishers in the last one year.
Ben Gomes, Head of Search at Google, explained that the Search product is entirely “focused on users,” and follows an “algorithmic approach” to provide them “relevant and high-quality information” based on their activity.
He, however, added, “Search is not perfect. And we’re under no illusion it is. But you have our commitment we’ll make it better every day.”
Google is also making its visual search stronger. It will add more images to search and has launched a new AMP-based format called Stories. Further, search will also display relevant video results inline with Stories.
Google revealed that new features are a result of evolving search trends exhibited by its users. How people look for stuff online today is very different from what it was two decades ago.
The tech giant underscored the importance of Search as a product in terms of crisis such as natural disasters. Google, of course, has a feature called SOS alerts for a year now, but going ahead it would be fine-tuning it to make it more accurate and useful. Google will use AI to predict where flooding might actually happen, for instance. This will roll out as a pilot program in India.
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