As part of its 20th anniversary, Google unveiled its plans to improve Search — starting with its Google Feed. Now known as Discover, the update brings along a redesign complete with features to help you find content that aligns with your interests.
Originally introduced in December 2016, the Google Feed has gone through its fair share of changes throughout the years. Located in the Google app, the feed was organized into two sections — a feed that kept you up to date on your interests like sports, entertainment, and news, while the second feed was dedicated to personal information like appointments and flights. Over time, Google allowed for more customizability, giving users the ability to pick and choose content they wanted to see on their feed.
With Discover, Google aims to help you uncover content that is not only timely but that also aligns with your interests. While scrolling through, you will see topic headers that provide an explanation for why you’re seeing a specific card in Discover. Next to the topic name is a Discover icon, which you’ll also start seeing in Search. If there is a topic that interests you, tapping on the icon will bring you to more content along with the ability to tap “Follow” it — which will add it to your feed.
While the new feature sets out on bringing you fresh content, Discover will also provide you with evergreen content that is relevant to you even if the article isn’t new. If you’re planning a road trip across the country or taking some time off in Europe, Discover might show you an article with the best restaurants in that area or suggested places to visit.
Google also introduced Topic Layer, which analyzes content on the web for a specific topic and develops subtopics around it. Using this new tool, Discover will be able to pinpoint the level of expertise someone has on a specific topic and then provide content around it. For example, if you’re learning to play the piano, Discover might show you content for beginners. If you have been playing the piano for years, you’ll see more advanced content appear.
Customizability is still alive and well even with the new update. Now, you can tap on the control icon in Discover to indicate whether you want to see more or less content on a specific topic. As for news, Google says that it will use the same technology used in its redesigned News app known as Full Coverage, which paints a complete picture of a story from a variety of different perspectives.
Discover will be available in multiple languages starting with support for English and Spanish in the U.S., and expanding to other languages and countries in the future. In addition to the Google app, Discover is also coming to mobile browsers and will be rolling out over the next few weeks. That way, even when you use Google on your browser, you still have access to the new tool underneath the Search bar.
Google also announced that it’s beginning to use artificial intelligence to put together AMP stories (an open source library that makes it easy for anyone to create a story on the web) that will surface in Search. The new feature will start with celebrities and athletes, providing facts and important moments form their lives in a visual format that then allows you to tap into articles for more information.
Following the launch of Google Lens last year, the company is now bringing it to Google Images. By tapping on the Lens icon below the image, Lens A.I. technology will be used to analyze the image and detect certain objects you might be interested in. By selecting one of the objects, Lens will then show you relevant images, some of which will also be linked to product pages to allow you to continue your search or even buy the item you might be interested in.
Search will also be incorporating featured videos, depending on what it is you look up. Google uses computer vision to understand the content of a video and then quickly help you find information that’s useful. For example, if you look up Paris, you might see a video for each attraction like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Similar to the way Topic Layer works, featured videos take your understanding of a specific topic and show videos that are related to that subtopic.
The Google Images algorithm has also been overhauled to provide better images and content on the page. Google has put more of an emphasis on the authority of a web page, while also providing you with images that come from sites related to your search. Newer content is also prioritized, so it’s more likely that you’ll click on a site that has received a recent update. There will also be more context around images, including captions that list the title of the webpage. While it’s already been introduced on mobile, it’s now going to be available on desktop.