Google is trying out a new format for search results that would make the search engine look and work in some ways like a social network. Major and small businesses, as well as organizations and celebrities, would eventually have an especially dedicated Twitter-like feed that would give them a prominent space on the web.
Google’s website states that businesses and organizations that are interested can feel free to join the waitlist. Alphabet’s Internet company first began experimenting with this format last month as it let presidential campaigns publish debate-related posts and later ordered candidates’ stances on key topics such as foreign policy and gun control. These search results looked similar to Google’s mobile “cards”, which users swipe and click or tap if they want to expand for more information.
Search expert Mike Blumenthal first noticed and reported that the same features are now extended to other organizations and businesses when he was searching for engagement ring stores in Buffalo, New York, and found a specially designed advertisement for Andrew Jewelers.
Google then confirmed to The Verge that it was testing an expansion of the format. Andrew Jewelers’ posts are curated into a Twitter-like feed stream of ads and clicking on one of the posts opens up a dedicated full-screen web page with text and photos.
Users can share the individual posts right from the search results page but they can’t like or comment on any of them because the format is not intended to be used as a social network.
The format of search result designed for self-promotion looks similar to a product known as Google Post, but a Google representative told The Verge that the new initiative does not even have a name. The firm calls Posts a new experiment that allows people to directly communicate with text, images and videos on the search engine.