Google I/O 2019, the company’s annual developer conference, has drawn to a close. Over the course of three days, Google shared an incredible amount of detail on their platform enhancements and capabilities. From this treasure trove of information, we will highlight three key areas that will most significantly impact your ability to engage your customers and deliver business results.
#1: Mini-Apps on Search and Assistant
It’s hard to throw a pebble and not hit a deck about search engine marketing that doesn’t include a slide about how the search results page has evolved over time. With an eye toward improving the search experience, Google announced a slew of new features. This isn’t just limited to Search — Google emphasized throughout their presentations that the features would appear across all “Surfaces” encompassing Search and Assistant.
Take one of the biggest enhancements coming up: Mini-Apps. If you’ve run Showcase Shopping ads, the concept is similar: a branded, rich media card that can expand to a full-screen experience. Google shared examples of brands featuring an online course catalog or allowing users to look up package delivery information—right from the Search or Assistant view. While the capability is in a limited test phase, don’t spare a moment now to think about the most important and useful experiences on your websites that you can extract and present within Search and Assistant to your customers.
#2: Image Search Enhancements
Google found people using Image Search were focused on 11 key areas, including event planning, DIY projects, shopping details, interior design and fashion. Among the many enhancements they’re bringing to Image Search, two stand out.
First, the High-Resolution Image Program: allowing brands to make large, high-quality pictures available to populate search results. In turn, for making such images available, Google will give your brand a much larger slot among the results — allowing you to stand out in the sea of visual information.
Second, Swipe Up for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): if your image appears on a page optimized for AMP, Google will allow users to swipe up on an image search result to instantly navigate to the page. The experience, (which may seem familiar if you’ve swiped up to navigate to pages within Instagram or Snapchat) requires AMP for a key reason: Google wants customers to have smooth and seamless engagements with your content.
With these coming features, consider enhancing the quality of visual content on your website, while simultaneously implementing AMP to improve your page speed and engagement experience.
#3: Google Account and Chrome Privacy
Google will give users the ability to set automatic deletion for the web, app and location activity associated with their Google Accounts after a set period of time. Notwithstanding the fact that automatic deletion will be turned off by default, and that users may not take the step to change those defaults, the feature will affect the data available to Google that in turn could be used to populate advertising audience lists.
With Chrome in particular, Google announced their commitment to building in privacy-protecting features. While specifics on their implementations will be announced over the coming months, Google named two key areas of focus: cookie handling and anti-fingerprint. With cookies, Google will draw a hard line between first-party and third-party cookies. The latter, used by advertising platforms to populate remarketing lists, will be limited in the scope of what they can collect and how they can be shared back to the third-party (primarily, secure connections will be required). On anti-fingerprinting, Google will prevent ad trackers from identifying users based on their browsing activity and contextual information (devices, locations, etc.).
Each of these changes will bring factors we’re already considering, following the advent of Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Apple’s Safari browser, within the Google ecosystem. It’s important to consider how you collect and rely on user data to inform your marketing activities. Take steps to evolve your programs with user privacy and technology changes in mind.
There are far more interesting things that may be highlighted from Google I/O. We recommend looking over the list of sessions on the Google I/O website, watching the ones that pique your interest. It isn’t just feature updates and technical information: you can find inspiration from people like Glen Keane (the animator behind classics like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Tarzan), Mae Jemison (engineer, physician and first African American female astronaut) and Michio Kaku (physicist, futurist and science educator). The next stage in Google’s evolution brings us the opportunity to create more magic, through business and beyond.