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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Google phases out continuous scrolling on search results

The change is expected to streamline the search process, making it more efficient for users to find the information they need.

Google has decided to retire its continuous scrolling feature from search results. This feature, which mimicked the endless scrolling behavior common in social media feeds, was initially introduced for mobile devices in October 2021 and later extended to desktop search results in December 2022. Despite its initial appeal, the feature will be phased out from desktop searches starting June 25, 2024, with mobile devices to follow in the coming months.

Transition to Classic Pagination

The continuous scrolling feature allowed users to view more search results automatically as they scrolled down the page, eliminating the need to click through to the next page. However, this feature will now be replaced by Google’s classic pagination bar on desktop, allowing users to navigate to specific pages of search results or simply click “Next” to see additional results. On mobile devices, a “More results” button will appear at the bottom of the search page, enabling users to load the next set of search results manually.

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Reasons Behind the Change

A Google spokesperson explained to Search Engine Land that the removal of continuous scrolling is intended to serve search results faster across a broader range of searches. By reverting to a manual loading process, Google aims to improve the efficiency of its search engine, ensuring that resources are used to load results that users actively request, rather than preloading content that may go unseen. The company also noted that automatically loading additional search results did not significantly enhance user satisfaction with Google Search, prompting this shift back to a more traditional pagination approach.

Impact on User Experience

The change is expected to streamline the search process, making it more efficient for users to find the information they need. While continuous scrolling offered a seamless experience similar to social media platforms, it also led to longer loading times and potentially overwhelming amounts of information. The return to pagination allows users to have more control over their search experience, navigating through pages at their own pace without the distraction of continuously loading results.

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In addition to these changes, Google is also rolling out new artificial intelligence (AI) features to enhance its suite of productivity tools. Notably, Google is introducing the Gemini side panel to Gmail, which is designed to summarize email threads and assist in composing new emails. This AI-powered tool will provide proactive prompts and allow users to ask freeform questions, aiming to make email management more efficient. The Gemini side panel will also be available in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive, although it will be exclusive to paid subscribers.