[OCTOBER 2018] Google Celebrates 20th Anniversary By Introducing 3 Fundamental Shifts in Search

During the 20th anniversary of Google’s Future of Search event in September 2018, their Vice President of Search, Ben Gomes, introduced three fundamental shifts in how the company thinks about search.

  • From answers to journeys: Google is bringing new features to Search to help searchers resume tasks where they left off and learn new interests and hobbies.
  • From search queries to query-less discovery: Google wants to surface more relevant information related to searchers’ interest even when they don’t have a specific query in mind.
  • From text to visual content: Google is bringing more visual content to Search and completely redesigning Google Images.

Here’s a look at some of the updates Google is working on to respond to these shifts.

Personalizing the Search Journey

Google will be releasing two new features that will resemble the ongoing search pattern of its users: Activity Cards and improved Collections.

Activity Cards will help users find out where they left off during their last search query, showing previous pages and sites visited, as well as previous queries. Users will be able to edit or remove the results of the Activity Card.

The update to Collections has been altered to work in conjunction with the Activity Cards on your mobile phone. While using Activity Cards, users can save pages to their Collections and view related topics to their search query. Google has also added a “topic layer” which allows provides users with suggestions based on related topics.

Google Collections

Image source: Google

The Discover Feed

Google Feed will now be called “Discover.” The Discover feed is a large source of third-party publisher traffic and will appear on the mobile version of Google’s homepage. The updates to Discover include:

  • An increase in video content.
  • The ability for users to control how much content they see for the topics they follow.

Google discover feedImage source: Google

Visual Search

Like Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram, Google’s AMP Stories will be expanding search results based on popular news, celebrities and athletes. The update allows users to quickly view articles based on topics that they find interesting.

Google AMP StoriesImage source: Google

Google will also update the way they display images on both desktop and mobile devices. The update will show more context around images, which will give users more information and better enable them to take an action. Google added that Google Lens will be coming soon, which will enable visual search on an item in a photo.

What do these updates mean for local marketers?

These updates are geared more towards enhancing users’ search capabilities than improving advertising functionality across their platforms. However, Google is bringing more structured content to search results, and in some cases, pre-empting queries or suggesting queries that will generate additional search sessions. The new features should keep searchers on the platform thus creating potential new contextual ad inventory for marketers.