Even Though Google I/O conference ended, tech giant still has some news for us. Google recently introduced rich cards, a new way of showing search results on mobile devices. The new search feature will make results even more visual, easier to spot and decide which page to open. From simple text-only results. Mobile search traveled a long way; now, most of the results have a picture in them, or in other words, those results are shown in the form of rich snippets. This way you can decide if the result is worthy enough to be clicked on, you can see a snippet of the info and a small picture, enabling you to see both textual and visual information before click on the specific link. But rich cards go even more in the territory of visual information.
Unlike rich snippets, that are basically an evolution step forward of the standard results formula, rich cards can be seen more like a proper revolution of mobile search. Instead of giving you an equal portion of text and image, they are shown in image format with just a tiny bit of text, making you decide solely on the image shown. This is a logical step for Google; if we look at Amazon search, aside from price, the most important part of the result is the image. If you don’t like the image of the particular product you’ll just move on to the next one. This way, you’ll be spending less time searching; visual-based decisions are performed much quicker than text-based ones. Just imagine yourself inside some candy store looking for a perfect chocolate; you won’t find yourself reading the ingredients, you’ll be just looking at packages, and images on them. Only if you can’t decide between the two or three different products, a textual search may occur.
This is exactly what Google is trying to do with rich cards. More and more search percentage is taken by searching for products, and with rich cards, you’ll be able to quickly see actual products and immediately decide which link to click on. As Google noted, “Rich cards are a new Search result format building on the success of rich snippets. Just like rich snippets, rich cards use schema.org structured markup to display content in an even more engaging and visual format, with a focus on providing a better mobile user experience.” Note the last part of the post; their goal is to provide a better mobile user experience and by providing visual results, the user will spend less time on search, and get a better mobile user experience, because on mobiles, speed is important, we all want to perform tasks as fast as possible.
For a start, rich cards are introduced with recipe and movie searches; if you, for instance, type “The Hateful Eight” you’ll get rich cards with the cast of the movie in a horizontal carousel, and a list of similar movies at the bottom, also scrollable.
Google hopes that rich cards will help site owners to be noticed more easily, and it will give Google more ad profit, and more clicks per ad. Rich cards seem to be a good idea, only time will tell if users like to see more visual results, but when looking at other search engines, it seems that visual search is the way of the future.