Google has spent the last few weeks updating its search protocols, and if you thought the “Wikipedia Vortex” was a frustrating part of the information gathering ecosystem, you haven’t seen anything yet.
For the uninitiated, the Wikipedia vortex is the term given to Wikipedia searches that rage out of control as the reader becomes more and more engrossed in new and varying information. For example, a search of Queen Elizabeth II ends up, through clicks and searches, to be a detailed analysis of Renaissance art.
Google has seen the potential created by this type of reactive behaviour and adjusted their search processes to suit.
When Googling, you will be presented with other, complementary information along with your basic search. If you are Googling a certain athlete, for example, you will be offered players from their team, opposition players and coaches etc.
Searching will also become a feast for the senses. Searches for “football” for example will produce video options, news analysis and standard keyword responses also. As you click on other potentially relevant searches – another enhanced featured that is immediately visible – the vortex widens and before you know it you are completing an online course on calligraphy.
Featured snippets, the fabled number “0” position on Google that appears above the standard search results has also been given an upgrade. Now, images also appear within the featured snippet and text will be moved down a spot – to position 0.1.
This, combined with the new conversational elements involved in search through digital assistants means that Google is adapting to a more diverse world of search. They have made no secret of their understanding that people don’t just want simple responses anymore, they seek demonstration and a more detailed understanding of exactly what they are searching for. Through creating something of a Yahoo-style homepage for specific search terms, Google enables people to travel down the newly invented Google vortex in exactly the direction they seek.