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Google has announced a number of new features in Search which aim to create a more personalised experience for the user.
A new Follow button on Search allows you to keep up with the latest news on a topic you’re interested in.
When you follow a topic, Google will look for the most helpful, relevant and reliable information on that topic to show you. It’s like subscribing to a topic you often revisit, making it easier to keep up with the latest updates. Next time you search for that topic, you’ll see information that’s new to you at the top of the search results.
Google says if you have notifications turned on, they may update you “if we find something particularly timely or important”. You can also easily update or unfollow topics at any time.
The Follow button is rolling out in the US (English) on the Google app and Chrome and Safari on mobile over the coming weeks.
Ranking boost for first-person perspectives
Google has rolled out ranking changes to show more first-person insights in the search results. Google describes this as “more first hand knowledge in Search”, with the changes aiming to make it easier for people to find and share their insights on Search.
“As part of this work, we’ve also rolled out a series of ranking improvements to show more first-person perspectives in results, so it’s easier to find this content across Search.”
Perspectives, showing content from videos, blogs and other social media was launched back in May, and the perspectives filter will be coming to desktop Search in the coming weeks.
Google will now also show new information about individual creators, such as their social handle, follower count or the popularity of their content.
Notes has been launched as an opt-in experiment in Search Labs. It enables you to add a note, or see notes others have written about a Search result. The aim is to share insights and tips to help people narrow in on the most useful information.
Here’s what it looks like:
The aim is to share insights and tips to help people narrow in on the most useful information.
There are a couple of potential issues here. Comments, which Notes effectively are, can easily get out of hand as we have all seen on multiple platforms. Google says guardrails are being implemented.
"Notes relies heavily on the protections developed over decades of bringing you reliable, helpful information on Search. We’re using a combination of algorithmic protections and human moderation to make sure notes are as safe, helpful and relevant as possible, and to protect against harmful or abusive content."
The other question which arises is what site owners can do if there are negative or malicious comments posted about their site. Google says it is working on this.
“In the months ahead, we’ll actively explore ways to provide site owners insights into notes on their content. We understand this is an important need for websites, and we’re committed to working with them to determine what tools and insights will be most beneficial.”
Read more about Notes on Google’s blog post.