Google plans to make its search results more “visual” with short videos and social media posts — in what is expected to be the biggest overhaul of its search engine yet.
According to internal documents seen by The Wall Street Journal, Google is changing the way it presents search results to incorporate TikTok videos and social media posts as well as conversations with an artificially intelligent (AI) bot named “Magi.”
“Google plans to make its search engine more ‘visual, snackable, personal, and human,’ with a focus on serving young people globally,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
It marks a huge shift from the list of website results that have cemented Google as the leading search engine and the most heavily trafficked website for decades — handling over 90% of searches on computer and mobile devices across the world.
According to people familiar with the matter, the company is expected to announce the changes to its search results at the annual Google I/O conference on May 10.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s current search strategy is known informally as “10 blue links” — with the company aiming to answer any query within the first 10 search results, or what publishers refer to as “above the fold,” meaning that users won’t have to keep scrolling to find what they require.
Instead, Google will replace traditional web results with more “human voices” and search results could include short-form videos and social media posts.
Google search visitors might be prompted to swipe through visuals such as TikTok videos in response to their queries and encouraged to ask follow-up questions.
The shift is intended to support content creators on social media in the same way Google Search has historically done with websites.
Google is also expected to debut is expected to debut new features that allow users to carry out conversations with an AI program codenamed “Magi,” at its Google I/O conference this week.
According to the report, Magi will allow searchers to complete transactions, such as buying shoes or booking flights. It can also allow searchers to answer questions about “software coding and write code based on a user’s request.”
The huge overhaul comes after a Google executive revealed that younger users are now increasingly turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps to discover new places or search for information.
Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan noted that core Google services were being impacted by a growing preference for social media and videos as the first stop on younger people’s path to discovery and that 40 percent of 18 to 24-year-old users go to TikTok or Instagram when they are looking for a place for lunch, rather than Google Maps or Search.
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