Google is improving the way cited searches work in its search engine and improving Touch to Search in the Chrome mobile app.
Quoted search refers to when you put quotes around a search term and Google shows results that contain those exact words. The problem with the old style was that the Google Search results didn’t show where the term appeared on the page. You had to dig a little. But now, a small snippet will appear below the search results (opens in new tab), showing exactly where you can find the quoted term in bold.
It looks like the update is already in effect. We entered a search term in quotes into Google Search, and sure enough, we got results with snippets displaying the phrase.
Google Research Software Engineer Yonghao Jin explained in a blog post about the updates that the reason the snippet was not added earlier is because some web pages made it difficult to implement. A specific phrase might be behind a page menu or in a different part of the site, so you need to spend time finding it. Despite this issue, Google decided to proceed with the snippet update.
Snippet changes are neither perfect nor universal, admits Google. If a webpage has the term quoted multiple times, “the snippet may not show all of them if they are [too] far from each other”. Terms in bold will primarily be unique on desktop Google Search. The announcement states that bold text will not appear in snippets found in certain search modes, such as Images or News, or on mobile devices.
We asked Google which other variations of Search have bold text in their snippets. We’ll update this story if we get an answer.
Chrome tweaks for mobile devices
As for Chrome mobile, your Touch to Search feature got some new tweaks (opens in new tab).
Touch to Search allows users to highlight specific words or phrases to quickly search without having to leave the page. By updating Google Chrome on our mobile device, we can confirm that the update has been released.
The tool now has more granular control over how users interact with the feature. In Chrome’s settings menu, you can enable the “Include surrounding text in Google results” option, which will include text around a highlighted word in a Google search for better results. Accepted hand gestures have also been tweaked, as Google claims it has recently standardized the process. Previously, you had to tap and hold a word to make it stand out. Chrome now recognizes a single tap for highlighting.
The announcement also revealed that Google is working on new Chrome features; one of them is to add suggestions based on the word or phrase you highlighted. If you highlight the word “San Francisco”, for example, you might see suggestions for “San Francisco Events” or “San Francisco Population”.
If you’re hungry for more Chrome news, we recommend checking out our story in Chrome 104. The update fixes a total of 27 security flaws, seven of which were deemed “high severity”.