Google Search could soon become a lot more social, as the company is experimenting with some intriguing new tools.
It's still in an early stage for now, but Google is trying out a new social approach to search: letting businesses and celebrities post directly to search results. This would obviously increase those posts' visibility and could turn search into a Twitter-like feed, although not quite.
It would not be as interactive as Twitter or some other social network, but it would nonetheless give certain entities a more prominent place on the Web. These posts would also be real-time updates, allowing posters to directly communicate with each other.
When someone makes such a post, it would turn up in Google search results alongside their name. This newly added social feature to search first started rolling out last month, allowing presidential campaigns to create debate-related posts. The tool would then curate those long posts to highlight candidates' main stances on essential matters such as immigration or gun control.
These socially-enhanced search results would look similar to Google's "cards" on mobile, which users can swipe, click or tap depending on what they want to do with the information.
Google is reportedly extending these tools from politicians to small businesses, and perhaps some celebrities and heavier brands. Search expert Mike Blumenthal was the first to notice and report on the changes, and Google later confirmed the scheme to The Verge.
According to Blumenthal, clicking on one such post would open up a full-screen, dedicated webpage with more comprehensive information, including text and images. Users would also be able to share posts straight from the search results page, but would not be able to comment on them.
This scheme was initially rumored to be called Google Posts, but a Google representative confirmed to The Verge that this is not the case. This initiative does not have a name yet, and Google Posts is a separate thing, limited to the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
It remains to be seen when this experimental feature will reach a more final, polished stage, but it will be interesting to observe how search results will perform with this new social layer.