Google is celebrating its 20th birthday this week, and is taking the opportunity to announce some new search features which aim to improve the experience for users, as well as keep them using it for longer. Unsurprisingly, they all utilise integrated AI and have a strong focus on mobile.
Here is what you're going to be seeing in the near future.
While you've always had the ability to trawl through your search history to find something, it's often a pain in the arse. Google will soon take that history and make it available during search. Sort of.
The new function is called 'Activity Cards' and it will basically allow you to retrace your steps. If you start a search query that is related something you have searched previously, a card will pop up with relevant pages you've already been to, as well as previous queries in relation to the topic. Rather than starting over from scratch, it will enable you to pick up where you left off.
Related to this is the introduction of subtopics. The algorithm will not only show your search results, but also the related topics that are relevant to that search.
For example, if you're searching 'Elon Musk' it may also show the subtopics 'Tesla', 'SpaceX' or '420', but that's just a guess.
What you'll find here is a prettier, more organised version of Bookmarks.
The idea of Collections is to help keep track of the content you've searched on a certain topic. It sounds quite simple — you just add an activity card (or presumably individual websites and images) directly to a Collection you've created so you can keep track of and easily access the information later.
A rebrand of the Google Feed, Discover encourages exploration by suggesting topics you might like to know more about, based on your search history.
You will be able to interact with the Discover feed in a few ways. The Discover icon will allow you to delve further into the suggested topic, which you can then opt to follow if you so choose. A control icon on each Disocver card will also allow you to see more or less of that kind of content or topic.
While Google will offer up the latest content on these topics, it will also suggest 'Evergreen Content' — articles and videos that may not be new to the web, but you're personally seeing them for the first time.
And if you're someone who speaks multiple languages, Discover will account for that too. You'll have the ability to see the content in the language that you want. Google uses this as an example — "You may like to use recipes in Spanish and read sports in English, and you will see content in your language of preference for each interest."
While Google Lens has been available since 2017, it will now be integrated with Google Images on mobile in the next few weeks — allowing users to learn more about the visual content they find during searches.
The AI within Lens will analyse images in order to detect objects of interest in them. Once you select an object, Lens will show you relevant images, including ones that will link out to product pages.
You will also have the ability to "draw" on parts of the image with your finger in order to trigger related search results.