Google has been making some changes regarding the way they display their search results. At first, these changes seem minor and insignificant, but upon further review, it’s evident that they could have a large impact on the way we find information and where our search results may take us.
According to The Next Web’s Abhimanyu Ghoshal, “Our own Napier Lopez spotted an odd change in Google’s search service on Android today: search results don’t include URLs like they used to. Instead, they only display the page’s title, a thumbnail of a featured image from the site, and a blurb. It isn’t clear if Google is merely running a test or gradually rolling out a change. But it’s hard to see how this helps anyone, besides making the interface a bit cleaner.” The problem is that with this alteration, search results display only the page title making it easy to click on an unsafe link. This could also make it easier for advertisers to spoof a competitor’s website simply by titling their page the same and paying for an ad to appear at the top of the search results. Some end users do not know how to tell the difference between a regular search result and a sponsored one.
We traced back to the origin of when Google first removed the domain name to a blog post from Google Webmaster Central Blog in April 2015. Google stated that these changes only affected the U.S. and mobile results.
- The website name to be used instead of the domain name
- The URL structure of the URL as breadcrumbs
The 2015 change still gave you a main company name in green that was linked to the main address so end users would know that it was not an unsafe website or scam before clicking on the link. With this new possible search structure, it could be difficult to know what site you will be directed to and possibly even dangerous. It is also inefficient for end users who just need a little help getting where they want to go. Hopefully this is just an experiment for Google and they will see that it yields undesirable results for their end users.
Ghoshal, Abhimanyu. “Google might kill URLs in mobile search and ruin things for everyone.” Accessed August 4, 2017. https://thenextweb.com/google/2017/08/04/google-might-kill-urls-in-mobile-search-and-ruin-things-for-everyone/#.tnw_RkcnFO9n.
Niechwiej, Bartlomiej and Ennals, Rob, April 16, 2015, “Better presentation of URLs in search results,” Google Webmaster Central Blog, Accessed August 4, 2017, http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/beckerposner/2010/02/double-exports-in-five-years-posner.html.