Search giant Google has recently been trialling the addition of thumbnail images within different search contexts.
It has been testing it in two different ways. The first version of this is within the search results pages of its search engine, while the second is using thumbnail images within the suggestions dropdown from the search query bar.
The implementation of these thumbnail images would be similar to the way in which they are displayed in Google News.
Within the search results, the images would be squared cropped versions of the articles’ featured images. They would be displayed along the right-hand side of the search result, in the same position where they currently appear against results in Google News.
Not every site would have a thumbnail though, and why they don’t is still yet to be made clear. It could be that the site doesn’t have a featured image or the aspect ratios of the images are not correct.
Google has also been experimenting with adding images to the suggestions within its dropdown menu on the search query bar. The images are displayed on the left of the suggested search query. Search Engine Journal uses an example of a search for ‘prince’ and the dropdown suggestions highlight the singer Prince, Princess Cruises and a number of princes and princesses from the Royal Family. Each of these displays a picture of that person, or the company logo.
The only result that did not return an image was the suggestion ‘princesas de Disney’, which is Spanish for ‘Disney Princesses’. It is not known why this is, but it could simply be that there was not a specific image that could be used for this search.
It is not yet clear whether Google will permanently introduce one, both or neither of these tests, but the format has worked well for Google News. Should the company decide that it is useful and enhances the user experience, it could well be rolled out on a wider scale.
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