Nearly half a decade ago, Google had debuted its Google Now offering, an artificial intelligence driven digital assistant. But in the next four years or so, the tech giant would try to sort of disassemble Google Now and integrate the functionality into its core branded services. The result is nothing short of a miracle -- search results and other services (like YouTube, for instance) are now more tailored to any Google account holder’s particular interests.
Google now takes that a step further with the launch of the feed (yup, it is officially not capitalized). The tech giant actually first unveiled the feed as a part of its main Google mobile app a year ago, and its latest update to that feature also signals a wider roll out. Basically, the feed is a news feed with a Google touch -- the user gets a personalized feed, with the usual news, along with topics that the user might be personally interested in.
According to Google, the feed will be seen as part of its main app for Android and iOS users, as well as in the Pixel Launcher. But soon, the company is looking to also incorporate the feed (albeit, in small doses perhaps) on the home page as seen by mobile users, and even by desktop web users.
Does this mean that the simple (and charmingly bare) Google.com home page will change soon? Yes, it might. For sure, this may take some getting used to. A big part of what makes Google search so cool is the simplicity of its focus -- you can just go to the website and just search without any distraction (except maybe for the endearing I’m Feeling Lucky button), at least in the desktop experience.
But now that people do most of their Googling on mobile devices, the new and improved feed may make more sense, especially for those who have the tendency to swipe down anyway. Moreover, apart from the searching itself, the feed will now serve as an “always there” option for those who want to explore related stuff, or information that will pique their interest.
Others are already observing how the feed from Google is similar and intrinsically different from Facebook’s news feed. In Facebook, you have to navigate through a feed mainly populated by your Facebook friends’ posts, occasionally punctuated by videos and sponsored posts here and there. With the feed, the content is not dictated by your social media circle, but by your personal interests, and even recent online activity. And because you do not need to “like” or “favorite” anything, there is no feeling of obligation whatsoever.
Of course, interests often change depending on the user’s mood, or on the season, or on what’s popular. Google takes all of that into account, too. You can argue that whereas other platforms focus on the “social” part of things, the feed from Google puts more attention to the “personal” while of course sticking to its mission of making information more easily available to humans.
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