Testing something carries a subtle implication that we’re not going to be accountable to our results – a kind of caveat to any potential failure suggesting that it’s okay if our efforts don’t produce positive results because “it’s just a test.”
Sometime over this past weekend Google stopped showing any review snippet with either Blended or the Branded One Box Results in the main search results view for many results. It appears that snippets are still visible in restaurants, hotels and possibly other heavily reviewed areas
New view (from 6/27):
View from last week (taken 6/23)
Review snippets have also been removed from most typical blended results (again with the exception of restaurants/hotels). This change seems consistent with the recent change to remove the images from the Blended results that occurred earlier in the month and effectively moves more information above the fold. Review snippets were first seen in the Google Blended results tests that ran last summer and were a regular part of the results since the Blended results were formally released in late October of last year. For me, they were a salient feature that dramatically changed the role of reviews in reputation management bringing a “typical review” front and center for all to see. The review snippets were derived via algo and were intended to provide a representative flavor of the review corpus. As in my example above, the snippets were not always accurate. While I don’t think that was a reason in their demise, I am sure some businesses will be grateful they are gone.
Our thirst for knowledge extends beyond the time we spend in front of our desktop computers. At Google, we are seeing mobile search grow at an exponential rate, increasing five-fold worldwide in just the past two years – a rate comparable to the early days of desktop Google Search. Today on mobile, we can get whatever information we’re looking for anytime, anywhere.
And I’m not just talking about looking up basic information like the weather or a stock quote, which is what people used to do in the early days of mobile search. As mobile devices have become more powerful and connected to faster networks, smartphone users are doing a surprisingly diverse set of search tasks — from simple lookups, to tasks that involve multiple complex searches.
But it’s not always easy to search from a mobile device, especially with the smaller screens and keyboards. We’ve worked relentlessly to make mobile search faster, easier, and more intuitive with features like autocomplete, Voice Search, Google Goggles, Google Instant and Instant Previews on mobile. Our work in mobile has now inspired desktop innovations like Voice Search and Search by Image, two new ways to search from your desktop, announced today at our Inside Search media event. We’re also excited to introduce two new mobile features designed to make mobile search even better.
With more searches happening when people are on the go, we’ve noticed an increase in searches for nearby places. To make it easier for people to search for what’s around them, we’ve introduced new shortcuts to commonly searched local categories, like restaurants, coffee shops and bars, in the form of icons on the mobile google homepage (www.google.com):
Shortcut icons appear at the bottom of the mobile homepage.Tap “More”, to select from additional popular categories like shopping, ATMs, gas stations, etc., a new part of our simplified Places homepage (www.google.com/m/places).
On the results page, you’ll see a map with markers for your current location and places around you. When you scroll through the results, the map remains at the top of the page and adjusts automatically to the listing you are looking at. That way, you can see the listing information while still getting location context from the map. Tapping on a result will quickly show you more about a place including reviews and other useful details. Discovering great places nearby has never been easier on your mobile phone.
Another mobile improvement we’ve introduced today is an easier way to build longer, more complicated searches. You can now add suggested phrases to the search box and “build” your search piece by piece. This feature is already available on the Google Search app for Android and iOS devices and we’re now making this available on www.google.com from your mobile browser. Watch the video below to see how you can search faster with less typing.
These new mobile features are now available on www.google.com on Android (version 2.2+) and iOS (version 4.0+) in 40 languages worldwide.
If you would like to learn more about today’s announcements, visit the Inside Search website, our new one-stop shop for Google search tips, features and an under the hood look at our technology. Check the site later today and you’ll find a recording of the event, answers to common questions and links to other blogs posts today on the Official Google Blog,Inside Search blog and the Chrome blog.
We hope you enjoy these new search features and we look forward to bringing you further improvements by making mobile search even faster, easier, and more useful.