Google’s search app for iOS is today introducing a feature that will keep users browsing the web, instead of exiting back to their homescreen to use other mobile application. The app is being updated to include a “related content” section that will appear at the bottom of the web pages you visit while using the Google app.
That is, if you search for a topic on Google, then tap to read an article about that subject, the app may offer suggestions of other related articles once you’ve finished. These suggestions appear at the bottom of the app’s interface, below the “G” button, but they aren’t visible as you’re scrolling down to read the page you’ve landed on.
Instead, the bar will only appear when you’ve finished reading and have begun to scroll back up. And even then, the related articles are still partially hidden – you can see the heading “People Also View” and some of the headlines, but you have to actually swipe up on this Google bar to see the suggestions in full.
You can then swipe horizontally through the list of related articles that appears, and tap on those you want to read.
If you are digging into a topic, it could be easy to jump through the various suggestions to keep reading more. But often, a Google search is about finding a very specific answer – and related articles doesn’t work well for that.
For example, if you search for the Mars Rover, you’re probably looking for information about that particular rover – not just space exploration information in general. But Google’s related articles suggest you read about the Opportunity Rover, the Mars Exploration Program Director, or the Santorini Panorama. That’s not necessarily going to help you with your original search query.
That’s not to say there aren’t times when you fall into one of those Google Search holes, where you keep reading more content as one thing leads to another. But typically, Google searches aren’t about getting lost on the web – they’re about getting an answer. Even Google itself understands this, which is why it built out its Knowledge Graph to provide “instant answers” right at the top of its search results.
Google says this change is about making it easier to “explore and discover content” while browsing the web, but it also has the side effect of keeping users in its app longer. And that has an impact on Google’s bottom line, as Google can display more ads to web searchers when they don’t leave its app.
The change is rolling out today to the Google app on iOS.