Google Search is testing adding new widgets to the desktop


The main screen of Google, both mobile and desktop, has been characterized for years by a clean user interface with few frills, such as to highlight its most important function: the search field.

Now the Mountain View team is thinking of a historic change and indeed is already carrying out the test for a new line of widget to be made available in the version of Google Search for desktop. The user experience being evaluated at this time has obvious similarities to how Google Discover works.

If the announcement of Privacy Sandbox is official, as well as the small restyling of Find My Device, here we are still moving in the test field, but the news is interesting.

Google search: how it changes with widgets on desktop

What the Big G team is planning is a change, but not a total upheaval: the card / widget, as you can see from the images below, they appear at the bottom of the main Google screen; in addition, users not interested in the novelty can easily return to the cleaner interface by means of the dedicated toggle “Hide content”Present in the lower right corner.

In the lower left corner, on the other hand, Google shows the user’s city / postcode, explaining that the information is based on history (“Based on your past activity“).

By deactivating the above toggle, a total of six expandable cards are shown on hover (passing over the tab with the cursor):

  • Weather forecast: current conditions with icon + temperature. Forecasts of the three days successes by expanding the card.
  • Trending: cover image, title and number of searches.
  • What to watch: programs and films with cover image.
  • Stocks / markets: daily chart on hover.
  • Local events complete with date.
  • News on the subject of COVID.

With a tap on the card it is possible to open the related web result in an extended version with the Knowledge Panel and / or related contents of Google Search. The number of cards shown depends on the user’s screen size.

It must be said that the test in question does not appear to be particularly extensive at this time, given that only a few Google accounts already see the novelty described. In short, in Mountain View they are obviously still doing all the necessary evaluations to decide on the rollout of the function.

As mentioned at the beginning, the user experience made available by the new Google Search widgets for desktop is very similar to the Google Discover approach, without however forcing users to scroll through yet another feed. The transition from the old Feed to Discover dates back to 2018 and even then Google had talked about a mobile-only experience, not destined to arrive on the desktop counterpart.

This new test demonstrates how that closure was not categorical, but also highlights a different approach between desktop and mobile: even if the novelty were to convince Big G and be distributed for everyone, it would not be such as to flood the normal browsing experience, given also the aforementioned possibility of hiding the cards if not interested.

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