Google packs more searches into the Search Bar

If you’ve ever opened a new browser tab with no clue what to search for, today’s Chrome updates may help.

First off, the Google Search box on Chrome will now display suggested queries based on your previous searches before you’ve started typing. In Google’s example, a user who had previously searched for the Korean noodle dish japchae would see images of similar Korean dishes beside the search box under the heading “People also search for.” Some of the search suggestions will also include images.

It’s not an entirely new feature. As Search Engine Roundtable points out, Google started testing a “People also search for” suggestion bar in 2020.

The Verge tested the updated Chrome search suggestions feature. Typing in “pesto sandwich recipe” popped up a list of similar search queries by others, such as “What sandwich does pesto go well with?” as well as images of a piece of ciabatta bread, pesto, and provolone.

A google search for “pesto sandwich recipe,” with a new list to the right of the autocomplete suggestions. The list reads “People also ask: What sandwich does pesto go with? What does pesto go well with? What cheese go with pesto?” A box below reads “People also search for” with labelled images of Ciabatta (food), Pesto (food), and Provolone (cheese).

A google search for “pesto sandwich recipe,” with a new list to the right of the autocomplete suggestions. The list reads “People also ask: What sandwich does pesto go with? What does pesto go well with? What cheese go with pesto?” A box below reads “People also search for” with labelled images of Ciabatta (food), Pesto (food), and Provolone (cheese).

Another change will impact searches related to shopping on the Chrome app. On both the Android and iOS apps, the search box will display image thumbnails of “broader product and shopping categories” rather than just sticking to the specific item in a search query. In another Google example, a user who searches for “bohemian table” will also see related search suggestions and images pop up in the search box, such as “bohemian tablecloth,” “bohemian table runner,” and others. 

Search suggestions will even pop up on Chrome when your phone has a poor Wi-Fi connection, due to “improved on-device capabilities” for both the Android and iOS versions of the search engine. Joshua Cruz, a spokesperson for Google, clarified that Chrome will download a “lightweight read-only model” in order to keep search suggestions working. 

“With this feature, Chrome will download a lightweight read-only model which contains the most popular search suggestions for a locale from Google server and store the model at [the] user directory, so that Chrome can serve these top search suggestions to users when server suggestions cannot be returned from server in time (e.g. under poor network) or are not allowed (e.g. in Incognito mode),” wrote Cruz in an email to The Verge

Yes, the read-only model allows search suggestions to work on Chrome’s Incognito Mode, using previously downloaded data.

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