Google brings video previews to search results on Android


Google is undeniably the best search engine for results -- concerns about privacy be damned. Alternatives such as Bing and DuckDuckGo aren't terrible, but the optimal experience still comes from Google -- for now.

Today, Google announces a cool new search feature for its Android operating system. When using either the Chrome web browser or the official Google app, you will now sometimes see video previews in results. In other words, rather than needing to click a video to load it entirely, you can instead see a brief snippet, allowing you to see if the video should meet your needs.


"We're always looking for ways to help you find information faster and easier. That’s why when you look up 'NBA draft recap,' for example, you've always seen short text snippets for each result. These text snippets help give you a snapshot of the site's content, making it easier to decide whether you'd like to click through to read more. For videos, we have traditionally shown a static image thumbnail in search results. But as more information moves to video, we're working on new ways to give you useful glimpses, helping you quickly find what you’re looking for across video, too," says Prashant Baheti, Product Manager, Google.

Baheti further says, "Starting today and rolling out more widely next week, on the Google app for Android and Chrome on Android, when video results show up in the video carousel, just like text snippets for text results, you'll see video previews. So whether you're trying to learn some new salsa dance steps or you’re stuck on the side of the road trying to change a flat tire, and need a video that uses the tools you have on hand, you now have access to video previews directly in search results, giving you a better idea of what you’re about to watch before you tap."

Not only does this help users better finds relevant content, but it could have the added benefit of fighting click-bait. Quite often, dishonest YouTube creators post a misleading title for their video, essentially fooling a user into clicking on it. The creator can generate revenue from this.

These click-baiters will not get paid, however, for these video previews. Hopefully users will leverage this new feature to avoid rewarding these dishonest people. That is, if the preview shows enough to inform the user that it is essentially garbage.

If you are worried about this feature impacting mobile data usage, don't. By default, the video previews will only load when connected to Wi-Fi. If you don't mind using up extra data, because maybe you have an unlimited plan, for instance, you can enable previews over cellular in settings.

Do you like seeing these previews in search results or will the movement prove distracting? Tell me in the comments below.

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