Google is updating its search results by launching ‘featured snippets’ in articles. The update was in testing for years and is now live for public use on the desktop and mobile site. The new feature will be helpful for users who like to scroll past all the additional details and get to the relevant answers.
Search expert Danny Sullivan said that the feature had been used with AMP pages since late 2018 and HTML testing started last year. Google announced the feature on its official Twitter account.
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) June 3, 2020
How Google snippets work
Featured snippets are pieces of information that appear on the top of the page right after Google is asked a question. For example: If you ask Google ‘What does a humidifier do’, an explanatory search result will pop up at the top with an explanation.
If you click on the link provided below it, it will take you directly to the relevant featured text you saw in search results, making the update extremely useful and time-saving for users who rely on the internet for general and academic searching.
Google states that functionality for this new feature may be limited for some browsers.
The company’s official announcement states:
“There’s no markup needed by webmasters to enable a featured snippet [but if] a browser doesn’t support the underlying technology needed, or if our systems can’t confidently determine exactly where within a page to direct a click, clicking a featured snippet will take a user to the top of the source web page”.
On the other hand, featured snippets may have a negative effect on the advertisement market. Brands with ads on the top section of web pages will soon find all users automatically scrolling to the highlighted content. The publication from SearchEngineLand suggests that advertisers may need to change the location of their ads.