Posted on 08/10/2017 at 12:00 AM
In the history of Google, one thing has remained fairly unchanged: That little search bar displayed front and center on the google.com homepage.
But there are signs seeming to indicate that this might be changing soon. On July 19th, Shashi Thakur, VP of Engineering at Google, penned an article about the recent changes to search.
“People have long turned to Google to get answers, learn about the world, and dig deeper on topics they’re passionate about. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app, making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you—even when you don’t have a query in mind.”
While Google’s news feed, the subject matter of Thakur’s article, has been a part of the mobile search experience for some time now, these latest comments seem to point to bigger changes ahead. His post has ignited much chatter among the industry, with the last line of his statement being of particular interest, ‘even when you don’t have a query in mind.’
So what new features have been added? And what could they mean for the future of mobile and desktop search alike? Here’s our take.
Key Updates in Google’s Mobile Search App
An Improved Feed:
As we stated, ‘Google Feed’ has been rolled out and in use on mobile since December, but with improvements to machine learning and Artificial Intelligence technology, Google is striving to further incorporate personalization, delivering content based not only on a user’s interactions with Google but also by considering what is trending in their area and all over the globe.
The Ability to Follow Content:
Through their recently enhanced feed, users can now signal to Google exactly what content interests them. They’ve made this possible by instating the ability to follow certain topics right from search results. Select search results will provide a “Follow” option next to content like movies, sports teams, bands/musical artists, celebrities/influencers and more. This functionality will allow users to receive updates and stories that are relevant to the topics they have opted to follow.
Tools for Identifying Fake News:
In the age of ‘fake news,’ users have a vested interest in understanding content from multiple perspectives. Due to this demand, Google’s mobile news feed interface is making it easy to pull in news stories on the same topic from various viewpoints and sources to help users get the full story.
In certain instances, you may also be able to check facts and seek out other information which is relevant to the topic at hand so that users can be more fully educated on breaking news and popular content, helping them to develop an all-inclusive understanding surrounding the topics displayed in their feed.
So what do all of these changes mean for the old fashioned search bar?
If you are wondering what is fueling these changes, look no further than Artificial Intelligence.
As artificial intelligence advances, the technology is getting better and better at accurately predicting what information users want to see and what kind of content they may be interested in. It is now possible for users to be provided relevant information based on their location, time of day, and their previous online behavior habits.
While the search box still defaults on desktop, and available on mobile, artificial intelligence is beginning to reduce the need for a previously crucial step: entering a search query. This begs some questions – why have a search box if it’s not being used? Is the next step to retire it? Or to modify it? And if so, how?
While it seems there will be many changes on Google’s horizon, one thing seems pretty certain: The future of search will be heavily rooted in machine learning. Google knows this and is, hence, putting a lot of focus on any personalization that can be applied as a result of machine learning – and while the search bar is not going anywhere yet, we are willing to bet that Google is on the verge of making some pretty big changes in the spirit of staying relevant.
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Categories: Search Engine Optimization