A new development could allow you to post live updates right onto your search results page.
Google is considering a huge change to the format of search results, and it has huge implications for organizations and individuals alike looking to promote online. According to a report from the Verge, Google will allow any brand, artist, or organization post live updates in a feed that appears on the results page when their name is searched.
Google first began testing the technology to give presidential candidates the platform to address people who search their names directly. Candidates took to the feeds to post rebuttals about subjects in debates, and eventually began posting lengthy policy stance pieces about hot-button issues like gun control and immigration.
The new feature stems from Google’s mobile “cards,” which allow users to click, swipe or tap and access supplemental information on search terms. Google is seeking to expand the use of the feature, and one day could offer its service to celebrities and national brands with large online presences.
Google has been testing business updates in search results in scattered places, but has not yet indicated when they plan to roll it out full-scale. The Verge reports that expert Mike Blumenthal first noticed the feature when he was searching for engagement ring shops in Buffalo, NY. He found an advertisement specifically designed for local store Andrew Jewelers, which revealed a stream of ads appearing in a Twitter-like feed featuring links to the shop’s full website. And much like on Twitter, posts can be shared but not liked or commented on.
It sounds similar to Google Posts, the company’s new product that allows users to “communicate with text, images and videos directly.” Posts has thus far been limited to the 2016 presidential campaigns, but the company revealed that they planned to make it available to other big name brands and organizations in the near future. The company announced that there was a waitlist for organizations interested in using the product when it becomes available.
Will the addition of custom ads on search results pages pay off for Google? The move could represent a push to capture a share of Twitter’s traffic, from users looking to see what their favorite businesses or celebrities have to say at that moment. Google’s Plus social media platform never reached the user base the company had hoped, and they have largely focused on other areas than live social updates.
The company says it doesn’t plan on charging for the feature, so it could very well bring more users together on the search results pages of brands and organizations that interest them. It could also give growing businesses and aspiring creatives, politicians and movements a new voice, ushering in a new era of self-promotion.