To mark the 20th anniversary of its founding, Google held a press event in San Francisco to give us a glimpse of what their “Future of Search” might look like.
It’s been 20 years since the search engine giant Google was launched by then Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Who would have thought that the duo’s software, which first ran in the university’s server, would lay the foundation for online search? Two decades after the momentous event, Google gave us a glimpse of what it sees as the “Future of Search“.
In a small press gathering organized by Google in San Francisco, the company discussed its plans on how it wants to make online search better. Here are the key announcements and highlights from the event.
1. Discover to Replace Google Feed
The advent of mobile technology reshaped Google’s priority from desktop to mobile devices. During the Future of Search event, the company revealed that it would be rebranding its content search and news feed application Google Feed to “Discover.”
Google Discover will be seen underneath the Google.com search bar on all mobile browsers. Also, since most searches made by users are repeats as per Google, Discover will be highlighting the news, videos, and information that Google search deemed the users care about more based on their searches.
For instance, if you keep searching for soccer or NBA game results, Discover will highlight relevant information about these topics even before you proceed with your search. Users will also be given the option to adjust the topics Discover will be showing them. Google Discover will be rolled out in the next few weeks.
2. Activity Cards
There is no doubt that Google’s search algorithm is more intelligent and powerful now than in previous years. Since the technology is specifically designed to look for patterns and use them to improve people’s search experience, the method will also now be used to suggest topics based on previous queries and present them in the form of cards at the top of the results page.
Although these Activity Cards will not be shown all the time, they will usually appear where the user left off in a search. They will show pages or sites that were previously visited by a person in past queries. Again, the results shown by the cards can be edited or removed.
While the Collections feature is already available, people rarely use it. It was introduced by Google to help users organize the content they have on their mobile devices. However, a new version of Collections will be introduced, and this time, it can be used alongside Activity Cards.
The new Collections will allow users to save websites and pages from their previous searches or Activity Cards to it. Aside from storing cards, Collections will also show related topics and information, making the feature a helpful tool when it comes to planning and high-consideration shopping.
4. Google Stories
Taking inspiration from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest, Google also announced at the Future of Search event that it would be expanding the AMP Stories to show articles, images, and videos of notable people like celebrities and athletes in searches.
Google’s algorithm will reportedly build stories based on available information of individuals and will incorporate them in search results. The new Google Stories format will be shown in a visually immersive mobile format that will allow people to swipe them left or right.
“We’re beginning to use AI to intelligently construct AMP stories and surface this content in Search. We’re starting today with stories about notable people — like celebrities and athletes — providing a glimpse into facts and important moments from their lives in a rich, visual format. This format lets you easily tap to the articles for more information and provides a new way to discover content from the web,” Google said in a statement.
5. Featured Videos, Google Image Update, and Google Lens
Google is also utilizing computer vision to identify significant portions of videos that can be shown to people for quick preview in search results. Dubbed as “Featured Videos,” the new feature is expected to help users quickly determine the videos that suit their interests.
Google Image will also receive an update to allow it to show more context around images that will help users get more relevant information about the topics they are searching for. The update will enable people to take relevant search actions both on desktops and mobile devices.
Furthermore, Google Lens will also be incorporated into Google Images to enable visual searching on items in a photo. Should the Lens fail to capture the right product or picture, users can manually indicate the object by encircling it so Lens can be redirected to the correct object.
Google didn’t mention any plans regarding ad placements and monetization. However, the new features and search structure are expected to give marketers more contextual ad inventories moving forward.
All of these new changes show Google’s continued drive towards their “mobile-first” platform. With all of these changes attempting to increase engagement and interaction, is the behemoth search platform attempting to shoulder itself further into the social media market?