Google is updating its popular search engine on its 20th anniversary, with a host of new features that will change the way it searches for content online.
The search engine has remained pretty much the same over the years. You type in your search query and then you get a white page containing with links leading to different websites.
To keep the audience plugged to the site, Google has decided to add more to the blank white space, with features that let you do a bit more than just search for webpages. Aside from visual changes, the company has also worked on its search algorithms, saying that user queries will be dealt with using AI.
We see billions of queries every day, and 15 percent of queries are ones we’ve never seen before. Given this scale, the only way to provide Search effectively is through an algorithmic approach. This helps us not just solve all the queries we’ve seen yesterday, but also all the ones we can’t anticipate for tomorrow.
Other than the so-called advanced algorithms, a number of social media-like changes have also been added.
Discover, Activity Cards, & Visuals
Introduced last year, the mobile page for Google will now show a newer version of Google feed that has been renamed to “Discover”. The visuals have been changed, this page will show suggested articles and pages based on your internet habits and search queries.
The AI-driven function uses all of your data gathered by Google and recommends you trips, events, music, and other articles on what it knows about you.
Other features are quite similar to what we usually see in most social media apps. The search engine has been modified to display more and more images and activity cards, instead of plain old text.
The activity cards will show your past searches and other “useful” content, just like before. Of course, you can get rid of a card you don’t like by deleting it.
Featured Video & Stories
In case your search words are related to a video, “Featured Video” will show you cards in a carousel to link you to a clip. You can also choose to auto play “salient segments” of the suggested videos without having to open the link.
“Enhanced Topic” is another new feature, that displays additional information on a search query. For example, if you search for “dog”, the app will bring more suggestions such as “how to train” and “names”.
Another addition will be a “Stories” feature we have already seen in Facebook and Instagram. Though Google says that it’s still under development, you’ll be able to see sets of text, pictures, and short videos related to your searches. Some of these stories are handled by AI, which collects pictures on topics like celebrities and landmarks.
Google Lens, a feature that uses AI to recognize content of an image, is being plugged into Google Images. Image search has been changed, it will use more tools to rank a webpage before displaying its content.
Google is working to make its search engine more accessible for the younger generation, who expects to see a social media-like interface, with images and curated content. “They [youngsters] just expect to see more visual [content]. To them, the 10 blue links looks weird,” said Cathy Edwards, who leads Google Images.
You can read more about the changes that Google is making here.
GIF source: Google