Google Updates 2024’s Search Engine Filters

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After announcing AI Overviews at its latest 2024 conference, Google is set to update its search engine’s filters, adding a ‘web’ button.

  • The new filter shows only text-based content and links; no videos or images or overviews.
  • Users expressed a desire for a simpler search experience.

On May 14, 2024, Google announced a small but mighty update to its search engine, a ‘web’ button that will only show text-based content and links.

The new “Web” filter caters to users who prefer a simpler, more streamlined search experience. By selecting this option, users can bypass the various blocks of content typically included in search results. Those include sponsored posts, shopping listings, and Google’s new AI-driven overviews.

According to Google’s X post, this feature is an answer to all the feedback received from users who expressed a desire for a return to the basics of web search. To be fair, it can be overwhelming sometimes.

Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, shared on X how he’s been asking for something similar for years:

This feature seems like a step back to the early days of web search when you have the new, glossy, and shiny AI search to play with. However, this is a genuine effort on Google’s part to listen to their users regarding overwhelming and irrelevant content in search results.  

But there’s a reason why this teeny-tiny update is coming out now.

Google is rolling out AI-driven enhancements to its search engine, with the upcoming additions including ‘AI Overviews,’ which provide concise answers to user queries without requiring them to click through to external websites. While these AI advancements offer convenience, they have raised concerns about the potential impact on web traffic for content creators.

Critics claimed that by prioritizing AI-generated content over traditional web links, Google risks reducing the visibility and traffic to websites that rely on search engine referrals. The shift to AI-driven search results may exacerbate existing challenges for web publishers, who have already seen a decline in traffic from social media platforms.

The ‘web’ search button was Google’s attempt to meet web publishers in the middle. Besides, it doesn’t just benefit web publishers. You, the user, also get to reap some benefits. It enhances the search experience, as it offers a simplified, text-only interface. This feature is particularly beneficial for those of us who prefer a no-frills approach to information retrieval. It indeed allows them to focus on textual content without the distraction of multimedia elements. It also caters to those seeking quick, clear, and concise search results. It is especially useful for users with slower internet connections or older devices, as it can provide a faster and more efficient browsing experience.

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