I was researching the sad news of the passing of the artist formally known as Prince (RIP) when I came across what look to be new icons within the mobile search results. It has been quite a newsworthy day in the UK, so I conducted a few more searches and started to see these icons on more and more queries.
Google have been adding visual aids in the form of icons and labels to the mobile search results for quite a while, and whilst I have seen “mobile-friendly”, “slow to load” and multiple PPC labels. I have not come across brand logos within the top stories or the “Live” icon in mobile search (as shown below).
I tried several other queries related to the Queen’s birthday, Princes passing and Ched Evans conviction being quashed, and this is what I was presented with.
This was the first time that I noticed the News Outlet brand logos within Google’s mobile search.
This is for the same search query but showing the term “Live” in the UK search results. Conducting more searches I noticed a similar pattern as shown in the following screenshot below.
These visual aids within the SERPs took me by surprise, as I am used to Top Stories being in a similar format to the rest of the SERP as shown below.
Being curious, I checked on a desktop computer for the same search queries to see if these brand logos or the live text was showing with the SERPs.
These queries returned the result pages looking as they have done for a while. This begs the question, why add these labels and brand icons to the mobile search results only? Are mobile users more susceptible to visual aids than those on a desktop?
Now, I don’t generally search for news related results, so this could have been live for a while. but I have not seen much coverage. Barry Schwartz reported back in October 2015, that Google was testing the Live icon within the SERPs, however, today has been the first time that I have seen this being used within the UK.
Have you seen any of the above before, whether it be in the UK or elsewhere? Do you think they will add value to the user experience? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.