Google announced today that it will change the way it searches on mobile devices, initially in the United States. Now, when you see the bottom of a set of search results on your phone, you don't need to click to go to the next page. Instead, the next set of results will load automatically, so you can keep scrolling down for more information.
The change will be available on the mobile web and will support most English searches on Google's iOS and Android apps in the US. Because this is a staggered release, you may start with some scrolling results and some not.
Google says that while most people find what they are looking for in the first few results, those who want more information tend to browse through four pages of results. This, we are told, is why the company made the change. These users can now move more seamlessly from page to page without clicking the "See more content" button at the bottom of the page.
Google notes that this is especially helpful for searches where people are looking for a variety of ideas or inspiration on a given topic, not just quick answers. However, there are other benefits to the design that Google doesn't mention.
For starters, continuous scrolling doesn't force you to stop at a certain point in your search and click on a link to continue — a holdover from the desktop era of web search. This "click for more" approach to design is outdated in a world where in-app news streams — like Facebook's news feed — display a never-ending stream of news and updates. By continuing to scroll, Google users may end up spending more time in the app, and they'll also see more ads.
Continuous scrolling also gives Google more flexibility in AD placement. Instead of limiting ads to the top of the search results page, ads can be inserted into search results as you move down — more like ads on social network feeds.
While Google didn't make public its advertising plans for this change, the company later told us that it would reallocate the number of text ads that appear at the top and bottom of web pages for English mobile queries. Text ads will now be displayed at the top and top of the second page, while fewer text ads will be displayed at the bottom of each page. However, there is currently no change in the way shopping and local advertising are displayed, we understand.
Also, because Google search has become cluttered with information boxes, search suggestions, products to buy, and buttons that take you to other vertical search areas such as videos, it has become harder to click the right button to advance search results. This is especially true because Google darkens other buttons in hopes of catching your eye and encouraging you to click to another destination.
Earlier this year, Google redesigned its search results page for mobile phones, adding white space in some areas and color in others to make results easier to read; Larger, bolder fonts (actually Google's fonts); And from rounded, shaded squares to straight lines; Among other things.
However, the change has more to do with how search results look than what they do. Google said the new continuous scrolling will begin rolling out in the U.S. today.