Finally recognizing that young users are more and more turning to other platforms like TikTok and Instagram to get information, Google (Nasdaq: GOOGL) is making some major changes to its search engine.
The first initiative involves allowing users to “follow” topics of interest, creating a more curated experience. By tapping a new “Follow” button in search results, users can receive timely information about their chosen topics. This feature, unlike the traditional Google Alerts system, offers a more personalized and curated experience similar to apps like Flipboard or Artifact.
This new capability will roll out on the Google app and Chrome and Safari on mobile in English in the US over the coming weeks.
The second initiative, which will be available as an experiment in Search Labs, introduces a collaborative space within Google Search by helping people “learn from the experiences of others on the web.” With Notes, users can opt-in to add personal notes to almost any web page, augmenting search results with individual experiences and insights. This move seems akin to building a Reddit-like layer on top of Google, potentially increasing human-generated content as Reddit tightens its platform.
To manage potential moderation challenges, Google will implement a classification system and human review for flagged notes, ensuring compliance with community guidelines.
While some websites won’t allow notes, and sensitive queries or crucial information sites will be exempt, users can browse through others’ notes via a feed. Unlike Reddit, these notes can be visual and engaging, incorporating stickers, images, and various visual styles. Importantly, the notes will be part of the open web, indexed by Google’s systems, potentially influencing the search algorithm over time.
In addition, Google has also rolled out a feature allowing desktop users to filter for different perspectives from forum sites like Reddit and social media platforms. This addition, launched on mobile earlier, includes information about content creators, such as social media handles, follower counts, and content popularity.
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