Are your search result pages about to change?
The answer to the question is ‘for some yes’ and at least temporarily on an experimental basis. Excited by a change or dreading another Google tweak? What is it all about? Read on to find out about Google’s latest trial of search result pages.
The change involves seeing search results on an actual live page – rather than having to click backwards and forwards to see search results. Whilst only an experiment at this stage, Google are constantly trying to adapt and change their platform to make it more user friendly and quicker for the audience. If popular, this could become a permanent change that is rolled out in the future to all.
This is actually not the only experiment that is happening as there is also an additional trial. These experiments are called journeys, and side panel search and we will now consider these in due course.
Journeys experimental feature
The idea of this feature is to gather all searches a user has undertaken from a past topic and put these in a group together. It is similar to and almost like a history navigation, except the list will be displayed in topic order which will make access much easier to find when a topic is being searched. Some of you may be wondering about privacy issues when it comes to this level of organisation of data. Google have stated that no data will be sent back to them, and the results will only be stored locally on a persons computer or device.
Google have indicated that if this proves successful it may consider expanding it in the future and offering the roll-out to more devices (which seems to indicate that it is only going to be a small-scale experiment at the moment.)
Side panel search feature
This is the official name for the experiment we introduced earlier. This will have a 3-stage process to it.
- The user will search as normal.
- The search results will be displayed as normal.
- The other search results will then appear on the ‘live’ webpage.
As the name suggests, it is called side panel because a box will appear on the left-hand side of the screen, making it effortless for the user to seek more information or click straight through to a competitor’s website.
As always with these things there are compromises and it would seem as though the display text area will be reduced in size in order to accommodate this extra side bar. This generally won’t be a problem as many people have large enough screens these days anyway. How that would work on a mobile device (bearing in mind it could be expanded as already indicated) is something that remains to be seen and could require a little bit of work.
These two new experiments are designed to make it easier for audiences and that can only be a good thing. As Google have indicated that no data is sent to them, it seems a little puzzling how they are going to be aware whether this is popular and whether the original outcomes of purpose have been met.
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