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Aug 01st, 2017
Google is updating its user interface with a Facebook-style news feed that will be featured on its homepage. The feed will show users content they may be interested in viewing based on their browsing habits. In particular, these custom newsfeeds will feature the following types of content:
In order to enrich and further customise their news feeds, users will be able to click ‘follow’ on search results to request those particular types of content (or content from particular sites) be added to their feed.
For those with the Google smartphone app, this may sound familiar. Google has been trying out a version of this on its Google Now app since December of last year.
This will be a marked change for the Google homepage, which has long been known for being mostly white space and having little more than a search bar for users to begin their web session. As BBC News points out, this sparsely populated page remains the world’s most-visited website.
Introducing more content to the page will certainly change the dynamic, but whether it will provide the company with the competitive edge it seeks over sites like Facebook remains to be seen.
How Google Intends To Curate Content Found In The Newsfeed
As with the newsfeed previously seen in the Google Now app, the new newsfeed will be card-based. Users can scroll through these cards and interact with them – unfollowing those that don’t interest them and (as mentioned above) adding new ones by following topics in their search results.
Even without following particular topics, a user’s search habits (when logged in) will inform their newsfeed. And as Google pointed out in a recent blog post, the feed will grow and evolve along with a person’s interests.
In the same post, Google is also pledging to provide users with broader context in order to reduce the impact of the so-called ‘filter bubble’, in which an algorithm inadvertently restricts the information presented to users by serving them only what it determines they would like to see.
According to Google’s blog post:
“News stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources, as well as other related information and articles. And when available, you’ll be able to fact check and see other relevant information to help get a more holistic understanding about the topics in your feed.”
What’s Google’s Motivation For This Change?
Google occasionally launches peripheral products to broaden its scope of services and influence, but the company has struggled to even come close to replicating its success with paid search. If successful, the newsfeed could bring significant changes to how users interact with Google.
Rather than simply launching searches when they want to learn about a topic, users may actually start visiting the Google homepage for inspiration of what to read about, much like the way that people use their Facebook newsfeed to find news stories, features and other content of interest to them.
The more time they spend on Google, the more the company can charge for advertising. And if this new service takes hold, it’s safe to say people are going to be spending significantly more time with the search giant.
What Does This Mean For Online Marketing?
Online marketers are wise to keep an eye on this new development. As Search Engine Watch has pointed out, Google is not launching this new service due to any problems with their core product. Instead, they’re making a play to enrich user experience and provide new ways for searchers to find content that interests them.
If the newsfeed takes hold, people will begin to interact with Google search in new ways. Organically, there may be opportunity to use meta descriptions (snippets) in the SERPs to encourage users to click ‘follow’ on listings for updates in their Google newsfeed. This would effectively be a way of seeking user permission to feature your content in their feed – prime real estate, to say the least.
And as the newsfeed matures, Google will undoubtedly roll out paid options for advertisers. However, this will take time to develop.
The team at Smart Traffic are excited about this new development, and we’ll keep our ear to the ground, so to speak, to ensure we have up-to-the-minute information on this new service. We’ll also keep you updated here on the blog as new developments unfold.
What do you think of the new Google newsfeed? Let us know in the comments. And as always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
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