Google overhauls Search to better include content from Reddit, Quora
Google has announced a slew of updates to Search that will change the way users, shoppers, and advertisers will interact with the platform.
For one, Google is “bringing more voices to Search” by incorporating a separate feature for quickly finding information from popular discussions and forums, such as Reddit and Quora.
In an example shared by Google, users searching for the best cars for a growing family will now find, in addition to other web results, links to forum posts that include relevant advice from people, like their experience with minivans for transporting multiple children.
The feature has been rolled out to English-speaking mobile users in the US.
Many users have in recent years tagged “Reddit” on to the end of basic searches, especially in cases where Google’s own search function fails to quickly deliver them the information they want.
As described by engineer Dmitri Brereton and featured in The Atlantic, too often the first page of Search is littered with ads and SEO-optimized articles that fail to succinctly inform users, leading to cynicism that Google’s search engine is less reliable than seemingly more authentic information crowdsourced directly from enthusiasts on forums.
Young users have also recently been eschewing Google’s Search in favor of other ways of finding information, such as TikTok. Google’s SVP of Search Prabhakar Raghavan admitted at a conference in July that nearly 40% of young people are using platforms like TikTok and Instagram, rather than Google Search or Maps, to find relevant information.
The company also announced a new feature that will translate news articles in non-native languages, so that users can read local news stories from, for example, Mexico in a direct translation. The feature will launch in “early 2023”.
Google is further bolstering its ecommerce offerings with nine new online shopping features. They include:
1. Searching with the word “shop” to bring up a visual feed of relevant products.
2. Shopping “the look” using a tool that visually shows complimentary clothing items alongside wardrobe staples.
3. A trending feature to see what styles are in-fashion.
4. 3D visuals for shoe shopping.
5. “Buying guides” that share “helpful insights about a category from a wide range of trusted sources” to help users research product options.
6. Page insights that bring together context about a given webpage or a product, like its pros and cons and star ratings, all in one view.
7. Improved personalization for Search results based on prior shopping habits.
8. “Dynamic” filters that allow users to filter in or out certain sub-categories of products, such as wide leg jeans.
9. Personalized suggested styles in the Discover section of Google’s mobile app.
Google says it will be overhauling its Search results to nudge consumers toward more sustainable choices. For instance, Search will now show the annual fuel cost for cars and emissions estimates when searching for new vehicles to buy, as well as equivalent data on electric vehicles.
The company added that it will be introducing a way to highlight pre-owned products for online shoppers as well as ingredient-level emissions data on food recipe searches.
Other updates to Google’s search engine can be found here.