On 19th July Google have announced a new feed experience in the Google app, “making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you”. It replaces the Now feed that Google have been experimenting since last December.
With major companies like Facebook, Apple and Amazon starting to implement AI, it was only a matter of time until the search giant found a way to put the technology to good use. With its unique insights into a huge user base, who better than Google could pull off a feed that is truly personalised? I was truly curious to try it and find out to what extent Google could wow me.
The stories in the feed are influenced by your Google searches, but also by trends in your area and around the world. The difference with other feeds such as Facebook’s? It is not “social”. No Friends, no Likes, no peer pressure. Just the stuff YOU want.
You can customise your feed further by following topics directly from your searches thanks to a new “follow” button on search results, and unfollowing topics in the feed. As an attempt to give you a holistic view on any given topic and avoid the "echo chamber" phenomenon, Google provides a carousel under its stories with similar articles from a range of sources. But with the stories being based on your searches and the absence of a social network to spice up your feed, you are more than ever trapped in your own bubble. Will Google find ways to surprise and delight us, while staying relevant and personalised? Watch this space...
And what does all this imply for marketers? With Google’s revenue coming mostly from search, they are making a bold move when claiming to respond to your needs “even when you don’t have a query in mind”. Some go as far as to say this could mean the end of Search as we know it, which would present a whole lot of new challenges and opportunities in SEO and PPC.
The feed is only available in the iOS and Android Google apps for now, but will soon be rolled out on desktop as well, meaning a major redesign of Google’s iconic homepage (!!!).
So, the verdict? If the new feed doesn’t feel revolutionary so far, it's nice to see that Google is not resting on its laurels. It’s safe to say that they won’t stop there. And marketers should keep a very close eye on it.