Google Streamlines Mobile Local Search in Chrome

Google Takes the Next Step in Multimodal Search Localogy

Google Chrome continues to validate its leading market share. As a browser, it keeps evolving and pushing the limits of what browsers can and should do – everything from its core functionality to an expanding library of third-party extensions. Beyond a web browser, it’s a platform in its own right.

All that momentum – along with Google’s gravitational pull and brand – has made Chrome the world’s most popular browser, even on iOS where Safari comes pre-loaded. And that traction means that Chrome inherently sees a fair share of mobile local searches, along with the Google Maps mobile app.

Google this week elevated that capability with some local search shortcuts. Specifically, the suggested search results that appear dynamically as you type will include embedded calls to action such as “call” or “directions.” Users previously had to endure another few finger taps before seeing those CTAs.

Limited Real Estate

This move comes as part of a cluster of new feature rollouts. They include a more thoughtful design and layout on iPads where users can open the Chrome address bar while still being able to see the web page they’re on. This is simply a matter of making the best use of limited-screen real estate.

iOS and Android Chrome browsers will also get more personalized. Based on past search behavior for signed in users, Chrome will now rank shortcut suggestions. In other words, suggestions will surface to the top if they match the things you’ve searched for in the past, or the categories you often search.

Here, Google provides the example of the search term “schedules.” That could involve a range of intent signals, but if you’ve searched for city metro information in the past, your intent may be inferred as looking for transit schedules. So you’ll see higher-ranked suggestions that align with that (see below).

Fine Tuning

Elsewhere on the list of Chrome’s latest features are trending searches. Previously limited to Chrome on Android devices, it comes to iOS to tell users what’s trending across Google. Like many of the above moves, it will live on the address bar and let users drill down into what’s currently popular.

Lastly, Google launched live sports cards in Chrome’s Discover Feed on iOS and Android. Users can indicate their favorite teams using the three-dot menu in the Chrome mobile app, then get automatic updates and team happenings. That includes the latest scores and highlight reels from recent games.

Backing up, many of these features sit under Google’s Chrome Actions. Bringing more actionable content to local fare makes sense, as those are often the most urgent. It’s all about capturing user intent when it’s there, rather than losing users in a more convoluted click stream. Expect more fine tuning.

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Google Takes the Next Step in Multimodal Search Localogy