Google is tweaking the way quoted searches work on its search engine and improving Touch to Search on the mobile Chrome app.
Quoted search refers to when you place quotation marks around a search term and Google shows you results that have those exact words. The problem with the old style was that Google Search results didn’t show where the term appeared on the page. You had to dig around a little. But now, a small snippet will appear below search results (opens in new tab), showing exactly where you can find your quoted term in bold text.
It appears the update is already in effect. We entered a search term surrounded by quotation marks onto Google Search and, sure enough, we got results with snippets displaying the phrase.
Google Search Software Engineer Yonghao Jin explained in a blog post on the updates that the reason the snippet wasn’t added earlier is because some web pages made it difficult to implement. A specific phrase may be behind a page menu or a different part of the website, so you have to spend time finding it. Despite this issue, Google decided to go through with the snippet update.
The snippet changes are not perfect nor universal, Google admits. If a web page has the quoted term multiple times, “the snippet may not show all of them if they are [too] far apart from each other.” Bolded terms will be mostly exclusive on Google Search for desktop. The announcement states the bold text won’t appear in snippets found on certain search modes like Images or News, nor on mobile.
We asked Google what other Search variations have the bold text in snippets. We’ll update this story if we get a response.
Mobile Chrome tweaks
As for Chrome mobile, its Touch to Search feature got a few new tweaks (opens in new tab).
Touch to Search allows users to highlight specific words or phrases to quickly search without having to exit the page. Upon updating Google Chrome on our mobile device, we can confirm the update is out.
The tool now has more granular control over how users interact with the feature. Within the Chrome Settings menu, you can enable the “Include surrounding text in Google results” option, which will include the text around a highlighted word in a Google search for better results. Accepted hand gestures have also been tweaked as Google states its recently standardized the process. Previously, you had to tap and hold down on a word to highlight it. Now, Chrome recognizes a single tap for highlighting.
The announcement also revealed Google is working on new Chrome features; one of which is adding suggestions based on the word or phrase you highlighted. If you highlight the word “San Francisco,” for example, you may see suggestions for “San Francisco events” or “San Francisco population.”
If you’re hungry for more Chrome news, we strongly recommend checking out our story on Chrome 104. The update fixes a total of 27 security flaws, seven of which were considered to be “high severity.”