Google is introducing a more personalised news feed to its mobile app as part of major updates to its search engine tied to the company’s 20th anniversary.
The feed, called Discover, will show users of the official Google mobile app curated content including news, sport highlights and YouTube videos based on user interests when they sign in.
The internet giant made the announcement as part of a series of updates it says will make its search engine – currently the most used on the web – “more accessible and useful for people everywhere”.
Google first introduced a news feed of trending content last year, but this update will show users more so-called “evergreen” content, which is not new, but the app believes will be of interest to the user.
The update will also enable users to edit the types of content shown to them by moving a new slider that appears on cards in the feed up and down, indicating whether users would like to see more or less of this type of content.
As part of the announcements, Google also revealed new features to help users carry out what it called longer “journeys” in search, enabling them to retrace search steps through new activity cards visible only to them, which allow them to quickly return to recent searches.
Image and visual searching is also being revamped, partnering with open source initiative the AMP Project, which allows anyone to create a social media story-style collection of images and videos and publish them online.
Google Images and the Discover feed will begin to show some of these visual stories going forward, Google said.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will also be used to offer more visual search results, offering featured videos if the search engine finds any it believes are linked to a search.
The announcements are part of the tech giant’s 20th anniversary celebrations, which have been going on throughout September.
Ben Gomes, vice president of Search, News and Assistant at Google, said the aim of the updates was to keeping improving the search engine for the next 20 years.
“When Google started 20 years ago, our mission was to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” he said.
“That seemed like an incredibly ambitious mission at the time – even considering that in 1998 the web consisted of just 25 million pages (roughly the equivalent of books in a small library).
“Fast forward to today, and now we index hundreds of billions of pages in our index – more information than all the libraries in the world could hold. We’ve grown to serve people all over the world, offering Search in more than 150 languages and over 190 countries.
“I’ve worked on Search at Google since the early days of its existence. One of the things that keeps me so inspired about Search all these years is our mission and how timeless it is.
“Providing greater access to information is fundamental to what we do, and there are always more ways we can help people access the information they need. That’s what pushes us forward to continue to make Search better for our users. And that’s why our work here is never done.”
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