Google is again testing Discover-style widgets for its desktop website

Google’s default page for web search is intuitive and easy to use. It has a prominent search bar and options to access the page in different languages ​​or switch to another Google service. While some of us like the clean, simplistic look, Google periodically feels the need to change the design and use the empty space for other purposes. In February, we saw Google go a step further and add contextual maps to the homepage. A few people say they’re reviewing those maps now, pointing to a possible wider rollout.

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Earlier this year, we reported six map-shaped widgets appearing at the bottom of the search homepage for some people. Each widget provided you with information about things you could search for, such as weather, trends, things to watch, stocks, local events, and COVID-19 news. The maps expanded when you hovered over your cursor, but a toggle allowed you to hide them completely if you preferred. The cards were visible on the homepage for a few days before disappearing.

Google’s test in February showed six new maps on the homepage

Based on Recent tweets, 9to5Google reports that Cards are making a comeback, along with a new floating prompt titled “Meet the new Google.com.” You’re prompted to log in and unlock the home page widget customization, which are now squares instead of rectangles that some people reported seeing back in February. When logging in, a separate window opens and allows you to choose from cards on the following topics:

  • Air quality
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Sotck exchange
  • Your best actions
  • Nearby events
  • Time
  • Trending searches
  • Top Stories
  • Sports
  • What to watch

Interestingly, the map widgets we saw in February were square (not rectangular as some reports claim). Google has also made some changes to the experience since we last saw it – the number of cards added apparently depends on your screen size, and there’s no way to scroll horizontally or vertically to see the rest.

Since very few people reported seeing the new homepage experience in February, and we’re not seeing them on our devices yet, we believe this is an a/b test classic way to determine how users react to change. However, such tests usually foreshadow a larger version.

About Sandra A. Powell

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