Google Australia has today announced that a new feature that allows selected individuals to post directly into search results, has arrived in Australia.
The feature, which is part blogging, part social platform allows verified people and even some small businesses to post text, images and videos directly in Google search results. It’s an experiment at this stage, which launched in the US in conjunction with the US presidential elections. Presidential candidates and their teams such as those behind Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton can post updates into a search result, that shows up on some search queries.
In Australia, Google has started with political parties inviting parties from both sides of the political spectrum to take part. Google is adopting a cautious approach to who they allow access to the feature, but will look at bringing people from other areas into the fold eventually.
Other areas is pretty broad and could include sports stars or even actors, anyone really, but a careful selection process which includes verification goes through before Posts are enabled.
Google has also used Posts in India for their sports stars, enabling it for sports stars like Cricketers MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli during the ICC Twenty20 in March. Part of that implementation also included showing real-time commentary during matches from the cricketers.
The people taking part in the trial, can post an amazing variety of content, from short messages up to an extensive text post up to 14,400 characters. The posts can be ‘rich’ with videos (no they don’t auto-play), or pictures including animate GIFs (sorry, yes they do auto-play) and they have control over it too. Updates are displayed in a horizontal card carousel, with 8 cards showing at any one time in reverse chronological order. Posts as they’re known, appear instantly in a stream after being posted, but can then be edited, or if needed, removed at any time, at which time the next oldest post returns to the carousel.
The posts show up on both mobile and desktop search, you can swipe through the carousel to get to new posts – or click the ‘More from…’ link to see a complete history of posts.
Google is very aware of the potential for abuse here, and won’t let users with access to the feature advertise on it, there’s no products or prices advertised, so you won’t see a slew of Coke ads appearing suddenly in your search results.
Google is also not allowing any control over where the posts show up, maintaining the integrity of the search algorithm. At this stage looking at what’s been done in the US, you will very likely see them at least show up when you search a candidates name.
The introduction to Australia now, is timely with politicians currently on the campaign trail. The successful implementation during the ongoing US elections show that there’s a need and a use case for the posts. It will be interesting to see how Australian politicians use the feature.
You can start checking the search results for your favourite candidate from today, their posts should show up when they start posting.