Google has announced it is revamping its mobile app to include a personalised feed of links about hobbies, travel, sports and other topics – a move that puts the search company into more direct competition with social networks such as Facebook.
Google, the world’s largest search engine and a unit of Alphabet Inc, said the changes would begin rolling out in the United States today (Wednesday 19th July) and other countries in the coming weeks. The service is powered by the company’s powerful algorithm, and all the data is collected on individual users.
The new offering, dubbed the “Google Feed,” is a name that may conjure comparisons to Facebook’s “News Feed,” a feature on Facebook used to browse updates from friends, family and other sources.
However, Google has said that it was not trying to duplicate Facebook’s feature, and instead wants to create another place to see a stream of relevant search results.
In a recent press conference, Ben Gomes, a Google VP for engineering, said “This feed is really about your interests. It’s not really about what your friends are interested in.”
Typical offerings from Google Feed might include a link to a website with tips about an upcoming holiday, or a link to a page about a hobby, the company said.
Amid fierce competition online for advertising revenue, both Facebook and Google are expected to take in some 50 percent of overall ad spending in 2018, according to research firm eMarketer.
However, where Google Feed differs to Facebook’s counterpart is that there are currently no immediate plans to include advertising in Google’s latest service, according to Gomes.
Google Feed will suggest links based on a user’s Google search history as well as data from other Google services, such as YouTube, Gmail and Google Calendar, the company said.
In addition to putting Google Feed on mobile apps, Shashi Thakur, a second Google VP for engineering, said at the briefing that the company is also looking at attaching it to web browsers in some form.