Google is currently rolling out Activity Cards, a new feature of Search that makes it easier for people to return to websites or topics they previously searched for. Google first announced the development of this functionality last September, and the search giant noted last year that the feature will benefit users by making it easier for them to revise their previous online activity. The quality-of-life improvement is presently being rolled out globally.
The activity cards will appear directly below the search bar once the user starts searching for a new topic and will show the recent search activity of the user based on the entered keywords. The feature may also show recently accessed websites and search phrases associated with the current topic. Users may also perform additional actions by long-pressing the link of websites displayed on the activity cards. For example, people may mark previously accessed websites for later reading by tapping on the “Add to” button that appears after long-pressing the site’s link. This action adds the website to the user’s collections, which people may access by tapping the menu button placed at the upper left corner of the mobile Google Search page or at the bottom bar of the Google application. Long-pressing the website’s link will also show an option for the user to remove the site from the activity cards, and they may also choose to prevent Google from showing the feature altogether by tapping the 3-dot icon found at the upper right corner of the activity cards. Right now, Google is deploying this feature to the mobile web page and the Google application in English in the United States, although other parts of the world will likely receive this feature soon.
Background: Despite its dominance in the segment, Google continues to improve its Search platform by incorporating features beneficial to consumers. For example, it recently introduced a new search design that makes it easier for users to find out where they can stream interesting shows or movies. The tech giant also often changes the way it shows information on the Google Search page. Last August, a new feature introduced by Google made it easier for users to see the various aspects of a search topic by showing panels with subtopics related to the search keyword. However, the panels may also contain other information aside from the subtopics, including links to relevant sources of information about the search topic. Aside from improving the usability of Google Search, Google recently introduced features that made it easier for users to control how the company takes advantage of their personal data. E.g. users may now more easily remove their recent Search activity directly within Google Search, and the tech giant also made it less difficult for users to control what advertisements they see on their Search results through easier access to Google’s Ad Settings.
Impact: The activity cards feature takes advantage of the breadth of information that Google records about its users to facilitate and accelerate future searches. This functionality also allows users to access the needed content immediately. Since it offers many useful features, users may opt to stay with the Google Search platform despite the emergence of similar services from other companies, especially those that are more focused on data privacy, something the tech giant was often criticized for in the past.
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