Google testing functionality to help users click websites to competitors

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Google has announced that it is experimenting with a new feature that allows users to see search results on a web page, without having to click to return to search results. The goal is to help users compare search results and allow them to quickly click out of a web page and visit a competing web page.

Google’s new experimental feature is a side-panel search which is one of two experiments that make Google’s search results pages (SERPs) persistent.

When the presence of something lasts longer than normal or what is normally expected, it is said to be persistent.

Both experiments show that Google is moving towards a more persistent style of search experience that makes search results pages visible for longer and accessible even when a user is on a webpage.

Experimental Side Panel search results make it easier for researchers to navigate from one web page to a competing web page.

Two new Google search experiences

Two research experiments were announced:

  1. Travel
  2. Side panel search

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Google Path

The first experience is called Journeys. The feature collects past research on a related topic and aggregates it. The feature is like a historical archive of past searches, but they are grouped by topic, making it easy to find specific searches related to a topic.

The goal is to make it easy for Google users to use Google to search for topics.

Google describes the feature as a way to group web pages together:

“If you’ve been looking for a trip to Yosemite in the past few weeks, Journeys will bring together all of the Yosemite-related pages you’ve visited so you can easily view them without having to go through your browsing history.

You’ll also see associated search suggestions so you can continue planning your trip there.

Chrome Journeys data is not sent back to Google, it is information that is stored locally.

Google says they might consider expanding it in future versions so that travel is accessible on different devices.

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Screenshot of Google Chrome Journeys

Google side panel search

The second experimental feature is a three-step process that starts with a normal Google search and then clicking to a website.

The third part is a side panel that opens on the left side to reveal the search results the user left a few moments ago.

From the side panel of the Chrome browser, a user can scroll up and down the search results while simultaneously staying on the website.

If the user finds another more engaging search result, they can click in the sidebar and quickly exit the website they previously navigated to from search.

A frictionless way to get back to Google search

The Side Panel Experimental Search Result removes the need to click a back button to return to Google search results.

Side panel search makes it easier for a user to compare the page they are on with other pages in the search results and click between them.

Google side panel for persistent search results

Google describes the new experimental feature as helping users compare search pages:

“To make it easier to compare search results and find what you’re looking for in Chrome faster, we’re testing a new side panel in the Chrome OS Dev channel, so you can view a page and search results on the same. time.

This allows you to view a page directly in your main browser window without the need to navigate back and forth or lose your search results. The goal of this experiment is to explore how Chrome can better help users easily compare results… “

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Side panel search screenshots

Screenshot of a normal search result

Below is a screenshot of a normal search result from which a user selects a web page to visit.

Screenshot of a normal search result

How persistent side panel search works

Below is a screenshot showing a user’s visit to a web page. In Google Persistent Search, the Google “G” logo is used to activate side panel search results.

How persistent side panel search works

Screenshot of the search result in the side panel

Below is what the search results look like in the side panel. As you can see, the website is on the right and Google’s persistent search results are on the left.

Screenshot of persistent search results

When and where are the new features?

Journeys is rolling out the experimental version of Chrome, called Canary.

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The side panel search is being rolled out to the Chrome OS Dev channel.

The announcement states that if deployed to more operating system platforms, it will be search engine independent, meaning it will work with users’ default search engine.

Persistent Google search results

Persistent search is changing the way users traditionally interact with search. Rather than leaving Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) after clicking on a website, Google search results remain accessible in a side panel or are grouped by subject in a Journeys panel.

Side panel search can be good news for sites that rank below the first position and could help spread search traffic.

It remains to be seen if this makes users less likely to stay on a website and explore, as this is a new experience and there is likely no data to understand how this can affect behavior. of users on websites.

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Read Google’s announcement on experimental search features

Help users explore the web and continue with previous tasks

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