As you may already know, we are always keeping our eye on Google at Adido as they keep us on our toes by dropping algorithms, rearranging the search engine results pages and changing the rules as they please. In some cases, this is great and offers us new ways to optimise sites and get that all important visibility on page one of Google, yet some changes can make our lives more difficult! As we have been watching Google’s every move, we thought we would offer you an update on some of the changes recently made.

Google Lens

At the Google I/O conference 2017, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed Google’s new visual search tool, ‘Google lens’ which is coming to Google Assistant and Google Photos soon. This impressive products shows Google’s advancements in machine learning, as Sundar Pichai describes it as “a set of vision-based computing capabilities that can understand what you’re looking at and help you take action”.

Google Lens will work in conjunction with your smartphone camera and will be able to identify what you are taking a picture of, as well as offering more information on it. It even works for businesses such as restaurants, as it will be able to offer contact details, reviews and more. This fascinating development will really change the way people search for information on the go.

Google Assistant

With Google Home recently landing in the UK, Google Assistant has started to become more of a household name, therefore Google have put some time and effort into advancing its capabilities. Not only will Google Assistant now be available on iPhone, opening it up to a massive market, it has some special new features which make it even more useful.

Some of these new updates include alerts and notifications of important information such as traffic delays, hands free calling and integration with the aforementioned Google Lens. Google’s Scott Huffman revealed that Google’s priority is to make Google Assistant more conversational as voice searches don’t use traditional keywords to search but sentences, questions and general conversation.

Google search

Event Search

In a bid to make event searches easier for the user, Google has rolled out a new search feature (only in the US for now, but will probably make an appearance in the UK soon) which provides more detailed information on events. For event related searches, such as ‘music events this week’, the search engine results page will now display a list of events with details such as dates, times, location and the event title. The user then simply clicks the event they like to find out more information and buy tickets. This update will be especially significant for event organisers and venues, so keep your eyes peeled for this one to roll out in the UK.

Google For Jobs

In a bid to make it easier for people to find jobs relevant to them and for recruiters to seek out talent, Google is releasing ‘Google For Jobs’ within its search engine. This new feature will use machine learning to identify the most appropriate opportunities for job hunters and will most likely cause a bit of a stir in the job search engine industry, especially for sites such as ‘Monster’. Developers will be able to send Google their job listings, making it easy for job hunters to find them.

Featured Snippets Testing

Up until now, websites which manage to get their content within the featured snippets at the top of the search engine results page have doubled their visibility on the page, with the featured snippet and an organic listing both showing. However, Google are currently testing a new way of structuring the results, by removing the organic listing if a website is a featured snippet. This certainly does not mean you should stop targeting the featured snippet, as this is still the best place to be on the page. It also opens up an opportunity for websites ranking on page 2 to step up and reach page 1.

Google 'Highlights' Testing

Google loves a good test, and it also has a test running for local search results. Within the local listings, Google is experimenting with ‘highlights’ – illustrated icons which represent the main highlights of the venue featured within the local panel. This will make it easier for the user to quickly identify whether the venue is child friendly, good for groups or has a casual dress code.

Project Owl

Finally, Google are making a concerted effort to tackle fake news and problematic or offensive content being served within the search engine results pages. ‘Project Owl’ as it has been dubbed, offers several new features which aim to improve suggested searches, improve featured snippets and boost authoritative, genuine content. Some of the features are as follows:

  • A new ‘suggested search’ feedback form, enabling the user to report inappropriate suggestions as well as formal policies about why suggestions might be removed
  • A new feedback form for the featured snippet answers
  • A new emphasis on authoritative content to improve overall search quality

With the help of user feedback and emphasis on authoritative content, Google hopes to improve its results and eliminate fake news, however there is no certainty that this approach will have the desired effect.

So there you have it, some of Google’s most recent, relevant and exciting new updates. Stay tuned for more from our ‘Google Watch’ soon!

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