The holidays are almost upon us and we would like to return to our roots.
Google has been meddling with something we know or love, but for a good cause.
It’s no secret that mobile had a massive impact on the entire industry, no doubt. With over 50% of searches now done on mobile, Google had to accommodate for that.
But how exactly was it trying to accomplish this?
Well, by changing the way searches appear on desktop, that’s how!
As you can see, “Top Stories” now appear without any images attached, in a crisp, mobile-esque style.
This isn’t coincidental, as Google has been trying to convey the mobile-esque style for the last couple of years as mobile becoming the main choices for searches online.
The ones with an eye for design would notice that this is similar to the way Top Tweets appear on search results (sans the emojis), so this is a way to standardize the search on all devices.
This new style has tremendous effect as it takes up less real estate than the card and image variation is Google still testing about a month ago.
It is not clear if the algorithm for appearing “on the news” has changed or is it just aesthetics for the time being; from our preliminary research, it hasn’t changed yet.
Bear also in mind that now only three cards appear instead of 5-6, ergo a smart marketer should put more effort if one would like to actually appear in these results, as the competition becomes more and more tied.
Google hasn’t completely set the way it appears to the user, as different geos receive different results.
For example, a friend of ours punched in on search the attack in Berlin or the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey, and he would still receive the latter version.
Caveat: some sites show the wrong thumbnails; a trip to schema.org would fix this issue entirely.
Google has been testing and tweaking and hasn’t rolled out the final version of this change yet (it might decide to create different localizations for this with some geos receiving the photoless ones and others with photos, based on psychological factors as well).
The main goal is to standardize everything so the user experience stays the same while we roam and switch between devices.