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Every so often Google drastically changes the way we receive information from our searches. Sometimes they come from seemingly out of nowhere. But you can see this change displayed on Google’s own COVID-19 resource portal SERP. With the advent of the new COVID-19 aggregate portal, Google once again shows they can make changes to how they display information to users. This new tool for SERPs is seen as a sticky side menu with their COVID-19 results page. This change essentially turns a single search query into seven similar-but-independent ones.
We want to explore some of the reasons this change could have a huge impact on the future of search.
Ambiguous Searches Solved
The ability to shift through results and information surrounding your search is seen only on this page right now. But users can easily see these results in more searches going forward. The menu could help disambiguate many traditionally ambiguous searches. It could even lead to a more personalized search. The world has never seen something like this in the world of search before.
With advancements in Natural Language Processing(NLP) like BERT to help give the SERPs context, we could now see the next step for Google’s intent-driven search results. Imagine a results page personalized to know your intent instantly. The ability for Google to see which tab you select and what intent you fulfill could change how it serves information for you and others.
User Intent and Personalized Searches
Google can modify user intent for specific searches by the sticky menu on the left. Previously ambiguous searches, with the new functionality, could have the ability to differentiate between different meanings. You could also see a wider view of differing opinions on specific SERPs where applicable. Imagine a results page that combines all the learning from Google over the years and serves up an easy way for user input to decide the most appropriate option for them.
Could Google Implement This Functionality on Other Searches?
Google continually changes their SERPs and tests different functionalities to see how they can serve up better results. But this one change really makes waves in the search industry. Many speculate the November 2020 election will serve as a testing ground to see if Google implements more personalized or diversified results with sub-topics.
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