“Discovering the world has never been easier on Google…”
– Marzia Niccolai, technical program manager at Google
There is a single phrase that can make business owners and SEOs everywhere simultaneously shutter with dread: Google updates.
Normally this type of thing means a SEO overhaul and website audit is just around the corner.
Thankfully, you have none of that to worry about this time around.
While Google has made some recent updates to its search engine like its new product features, the latest additions will mainly serve to benefit its users in obtaining more refined information, without the usual panic.
What does concern business owners, however, is that Google has also added in a new element to help drive local residents to any upcoming occasions or celebrations you may be having.
Check out these cool new features you can now find on Google search.
Finding Plans for the Weekend
On May 10, Google broke the news via The Keyword that it is focused on helping people find fun things to do with their free time; namely local events like festivals, concerts, lectures, meet-ups, sporting events and similar social activities.
The means in which the company will drive this initiative is a summary of local activities for users who search phrases like “Events near me,” “events this weekend,” or similar phrases on Google’s app or mobile site on iOS and Android.
Google notes in its blog that users will also be able to search more specific and refined phrases like “jazz concerts in Austin next week.”
As indicated by the last example, Google users will also be able to filter results based on time; fields like “Today,” “Tomorrow,” “This Week,” “This Weekend,” and “Next Week” are all present.
Users who interact with these event lists will be able to quickly reference information about the event such as title, time, date and location.
If users don’t see anything that piques their interest, they can simply click “more events” for an expanded list of experiences going on near them.
Once users find an event they want to go to, they simply click through to purchase tickets right from the originating website.
Google compiles its event lists by aggregating data from various websites like Ticketmaster, Meetup, Eventbrite, LiveNation, Vividseats, StubHub, Eventful, and many others. Despite the fact that Google is already pulling event information from some of the largest and most prominent event sites, the company claims that this list will continue to grow over time.
Additionally, for any businesses who have events that are not listed on the aforementioned destinations, Google has uploaded developer guidelines for any company that does want their events to surface in this manner.
This could be a massive driver of sales for businesses who would otherwise need to promote their events on social media and around town. Using this feature, small business owners can generate free awareness about any upcoming occasions by getting them listed on the search engine.
Google has stated that it’s implementing this new feature because the engine sees millions of searches around local events every day.
What the company has omitted from its statements, however, is that Facebook has become the go-to source for event information with more than 100 million people using the site’s “Events” feature daily; this puts the viability of Google’s new feature into question.
Moreover, a multitude of Facebook Pages maintain a list of events that users can mark as “interested in going” or “going.” This data is then posted on the users Newsfeed which increases the likelihood of more of their friends also going to the event and potentially going viral.
This is something that Google will likely not be able to compete with.
Also, for those who are unaware, Facebook even has its own events and calendar iOS app called Events from Facebook.
And if Facebook wasn’t enough competition in the events category, users also have a variety of events apps to choose from that completely circumvent Google.
While Google is busy testing the new feature’s viability in the U.S., there are no current plans to expand the events element to international audiences.
Even More Shopping Updates
Google recently made headlines with its inclusion of Similar Items and Style Inspiration in its Images section, but there is another shopping related update that flew somewhat under the radar.
In a recent post to the Google Merchant Help Center, the search engine informed eCommerce providers (as it does every year) that changes are coming to its shopping product data specifications.
This year, Google plans on implementing minimum order values on all items. This means that if your site does not offer shipping below a specific dollar amount, this will now be noted in the Shopping section. This will help many businesses to cut down on their ad clicks that result in cart abandonment due to their shipping policies.
Additionally, the search provider will also be introducing “upper bound price and weight value limits” in the shipping information shown to consumers. This way, any information that has been input incorrectly, Google will be able to easily identify through disapproval.
Finally, estimated delivery dates can now be added to Product Listing Ads; granted you’re targeting U.S. consumers.
All of these changes went into effect on at the beginning of the week.
The Art of Search
Just a few weeks after Google made its announcement about its new events lists, the company surprised audiences with another new update to its search features.
On May 31, Google announced through a blog post on The Keyword that the search engine had partnered with Google’s Arts and Culture team to provide users with a deeper understanding of art and related information:
“. . . Each month, there are more than 500 million art-related searches on Google. Now whether you’re a casual fan or a true culture vulture, Google can help you become an art expert. Starting today, when you search for art-related things, you’ll have access to more relevant results and the ability to dive deeper into topics of interest.”
When searching famous artists like Gustav Klimt, Google will display an interactive knowledge panel that will contain additional information about the artist, their collections of work, when the artwork was made, what materials were used to make the pieces, and where the pieces live now.
On top of the supplemental information, Google has also augmented Maps with a new Street View that allows users to virtually tour various museums across the world; just in time for its 10th anniversary.
Users can move through museums viewing some of the world’s most recognizable pieces of art along with annotations located in the bottom right corner that accompany most works. The annotations provide additional information about the specific piece of art and enables users to zoom in on high-resolution images to get a closer look.
If you want to see how the new Street View works, check out this video uploaded by Google.
As of now, these new art-related features are only available on desktop and mobile Chrome.
Over the past several months, Google has been adding some great features for business and consumers to take advantage of; this is just another example in the company’s growing stable. Check out these new features and get your brand’s next shindig listed on Google’s local event results.
What other search features would you like to see from Google? Do you think Google’s events list will be viable in the face of its competition?