Source: Search Engine Journal
Source: Search Engine Journal

After many years without significant changes (at least when it comes to user experience) the search feature of Google is evolving.

It’s been a few years since searching for something online has become essentially a non-event. Google, by far the most popular search engine, will almost always give you the answer without much trouble. And that’s if you simply type keywords as usual, but Google is working on more ways to search without words.

You can already search using images, but AI is now helping in pushing forward a way to search for products with a combination of both – what Google called multi-search. In practice, you can take a picture and then modify it with words for a search. An example they quoted is to take a picture of a dress but then add the words “in purple”, and the engine would try to find that dress from the picture but in the color purple.

This indicates that eventually, cameras may become the main way to search, as AI becomes more adept at identifying products and places and typing becomes obsolete.

However, the home page of the search engine may be getting an upgrade as well. It’s still unclear exactly how, but from what Google has revealed, we can expect something of a “homepage” with trending topics. They did make clear that the user would be able to customize what they want to see, but it’s safe to assume that the default behavior involves targeted topics.

Source: Search Engine Land
Source: Search Engine Land

Another possible change involves the way Google shows results. Most searches don’t go beyond the first page, and the engine is already pretty good at showing the best results at the top, but the further you go down, the worse it gets. Google is considering replacing those “bad results” for related searches with good content instead.

Google has already been prioritizing images and videos as their top results – it’s pretty rare these days to get only text results, which are typically only possible when searching for something incredibly vague or ambiguous.

These changes make it clear that Google wants users to engage with their engine more often than only when they’re searching for something specific – perhaps by creating a personal space, similar to a social feed, but private to each individual user.

This commitment to privacy and choice is something Google has been pushing for with its most recent updates. Notably, a feature that’s already in early testing will notify users if their personal information appears in a Google search (such as phone number or address) and gives the user the option to take it down.

Basically, Google isn’t changing the way the engine works because everyone would agree it’s pretty good at understanding what the user wants and showing good results fast. But with that nailed down, Google is attempting to be more than a search engine and offer not only new ways to search and learn but overall improvements to user experience and quality of life.