Google Discover: An Introduction to a new way to Search
As we have talked about before, we are starting to notice a difference in the way that people are consuming content – and this Is having an effect on SEO services. The rise in the use of technology, specifically mobiles, means that people now want to consume content quickly while they are out and about – and Google is starting to sit up and take notice of this trend. In fact, they are even beginning to have an impact on it with the introduction of ‘Google Discover’ which is set to take the place of ‘Google Search.’
What is Google Discover?
Most people’s understanding of Google search is that it operates on queries and returns results that are based on what the user was searching for. Which was true – until last year. Actually, the change started back in December 2016, when Google updated its app by introducing a series of cards which were aimed at ‘helping you stay organised and in the know about the things that matter to you.’ The user’s feed was therefore organised in a way that kept them updated on their interests such as entertainment, news and sports. This information was delivered to users as soon as they opened the app before they even started searching for anything – so you could use the Google app even if you didn’t know what you were looking for.
Then in July 2017, Google updated the app again, using their machine algorithms to anticipate better what its users found interesting and important, which they called The Feed. And now, Google is updating The Feed and calling it Discover. Two fundamental shifts drove this change in search:
- the shift from answers to search journeys
- the shift from the text-based search to the visually inspiring.
Let’s now take a closer look at the way Google Discover differs from the old feed:
Google seems to be following in Instagram’s footsteps with the introduction of content headers. What Google is trying to do with this is to discover more about what you are interested in – without you having to search for it. If you click on one of the content topics that Google has pre-loaded for you, then you will see other content that relates to that topic. You also have the option to ‘follow’ that topic which will signal to Google that you are indeed interested in this topic.
Long Lasting Content
When Google focused on The Feed, it concentrated on news cycles – so you saw the most recent news and sports events first, for example. The difference with Discover is that it also highlights long-lasting content, also known as evergreen content. So, when you are searching for information on the next place you want to travel to, for example, Google Discover will show you articles related to the best sights to see or places to eat – and these may be from a couple of months ago, but they are still relevant to you. Google is cottoning on to the fact that the best answer for a query is not necessarily the most recent answer.
Google’s other project, the Knowledge Graph, is also useful for the Feed as it helps Google to get a better understanding of your knowledge of the topic you are looking at so that it can serve you articles pitched at your level of expertise.
Personalisation, but not overly personalised
Google gives you an option to tell them if a topic is really interesting to you, or you are not interested in it at all – however it is easier to tell them what you are interested in than what you aren’t. You can self-cater your preferred content in general, but Google will still try to offer you a variety of perspectives as well.
A new homepage
Although many people use the Google app, there are also fair few that also use the Chrome or Safari app instead – which means that they won’t have the chance to interact with Discover. Until now, that is! Google has just rolled out Discover as their new mobile homepage meaning you can now start your search via Discover or through a query as you are used to.
So, is this a good change from Google or not? We can see why Google is going down the route of trying to be more like Facebook and Instagram: after all, the majority of people spend the majority of their time online on these sites. But at the end of the day, Google was designed as a search engine. People still want to be able to ask it a question and be given an answer – without having to scroll through a ton of information. Google Discover is still new and developing, and so it is probably too early to say. We will keep an eye on it though, and let you know.