google has recently launched an experimental feature called “Notes” that allows users to view and leave comments on search results and Discover articles. This feature is being released through Google's Search Labs, which offers early previews of experimental features so users can test new capabilities not yet available widely. After enabling the Notes function of Google Search Labs, users will be able to see a series of “Notes” content below the web search results.
According to Google, they hope that Notes can coexist with existing content on the web. This will allow the company to get more insights from humans as a reference. Also, users will be able to write down their own experiences to communicate with others. Google mentioned that users can use the Notes function as a standalone note-taking application. They can also customize the Notes interface, fonts, etc. Furthermore, Google announced that this feature will be further expanded in the future and plans to launch it in the United States.
Google has also considered that there may be malicious people using Notes functions to advertise or spread false news. Therefore, Google claims that content posted by users in Notes will be displayed after algorithmic and manual review. For now, “Notes” is an optional feature on Search Labs and is currently available in India and the US with support for English and Hindi languages.
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How “Notes” Works
- Users who opt-in through Google's Search Labs will see a “Notes” button under certain search results and Discover articles in the Google app. Tapping the button will reveal notes left by others about that page, and users can also create their own notes to share their expertise with the world.
- Notes may include text, photos, stickers, and other customizable elements. Google will soon add AI-generated images to notes as well.
- Each note is ranked for a given web page based on its relevance to the search query and the content on the page. The notes are crawlable by Google for ranking purposes, but the ranking is just for the notes feature. Google does not have plans to use the notes for ranking purposes in the normal search results.
User Interaction and Moderation
- Users can leave public commentary on individual web pages that appear in Google Search results. There will be a social component that lets users like notes from other users. Once a note is posted, the user's profile picture and name will be visible to other Google users. However, personal details like email addresses won't be public.
- The default text advises searchers to share their thoughts on links while keeping it “friendly and helpful.” Notes will be moderated, and there are certain types of pages that are not eligible for notes. They include content such as medical information, pornography, and violent content.
Benefits and Site Owner Concerns
Google has designed Notes to work hand-in-hand with existing content on the web. This will add a new layer of human insights to search results. This feature aims to provide relevant tips to users, such as uncovering neighbourhood tips on articles about new cities or modifying recipe spice levels based on other users' experiences. Website owners have expressed concerns about this feature. However, Google is working on ways to give publishers insights into the notes left about their web pages and content.
Google's “Notes” experimental feature is an innovative addition to the search experience. It allows users to contribute their insights and benefit from the knowledge shared by others. While it presents new opportunities for user interaction, it also raises considerations for content moderation and site owner insights. As this feature continues to evolve, it has the potential to enhance the search experience for users around the world.