Google has announced the launch of a new feature, which allows presidential candidates to post directly into search results.
It allows the candidates to ‘communicate with text, images and videos directly on Google’.
It’s a feature which is currently available only to candidates, though there are plans to expand its use to ‘other prominent figures and organisations’.
You’ll see this for searches on Google.com related to the various candidates. As you can see, Google has given this a prominent position.
For more general searches, such as the candidate’s name and ‘policies’ or ‘issues’, you’ll see a list of topics like this.
From there, you’ll can click each issue to see a summary of policies, as well as related news links.
The blue tick indicates content that the candidate or their team has written for the feature.
We can see this for Cruz, Sanders and Clinton, though the versions for Rubio and Trump just show news stories. I’m sure we’ll see more from them once they realise how prominently Google is featuring this.
These posts take up the majority of the space above the fold, and therefore have the effect of making the candidates’ own sites and other pages less visible.
You could look at this in a couple of ways: yes, their own web properties and social links are now less visible, but so are potentially negative news stories and sites.
Some sites, including The Verge, have spotted that results for Andrews Jewelers show similar content, though in a less prominent position than the presidential candidates’ versions.
It’s an interesting move, and makes sense in election year to offer people a quick overview of policies.
If it’s rolled out to other prominent figures and organisations, it raises interesting questions.
Link: Google gives 2016 presidential candidates a prime slot in search results