Google is testing a new feature in desktop search that, quite frankly, no one is happy about.
When Jennifer Slegg from The SEM Post reported on seeing autoplaying videos in Google search, the chatter around the web has been nothing but negative.
Here is a smattering of the sentiments thus far. I combed through Twitter to find even one positive opinion to balance out the negatives, but there were none to be found.
— Alex Johnson (@MAlexJohnson) July 27, 2017
This is a dreadful idea: "Google is testing autoplay videos directly in search results." https://t.co/4rA4V1shXz
— Rob Price (@robaeprice) July 27, 2017
Dear Google, autoplay videos will NOT "improve the search experience," thanks… https://t.co/zJBZUAGMdO
— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) July 27, 2017
The people who conceived, greenlit, and built this should be reprimanded and sent to human sensitivity training. https://t.co/8ufeBcuZ9l
— David Chartier 🥃 (@chartier) July 27, 2017
According to Slegg, the autoplaying videos have been spotted in the knowledge panel when movie titles are searched for on desktop.
Videos will initially play without any sound, though sound can be turned on manually. That means they technically abide by Google’s better ad standards.
The videos are not considered to be ads, though it is worth bringing up the ‘better ads’ comparison because it gives you an idea of what Google considers to be intrusive and non-intrusive.
In addition, videos will not repeat themselves. They will only play once unless prompted to play through another time. Once again, they are not showing up in mobile search – at least not currently.
Not thrilled with seeing autoplaying videos in your search results? Google’s official Chrome account is actually tweeting out advice for how to block them.
Hi Gavin. To disable autoplay, you can install an extension with a similar feature from the Web Store: https://t.co/nMOpjsHaWx.
— Google Chrome (@googlechrome) July 27, 2017
What’s being linked to in the above tweet is a Chrome plugin that will prevent you from seeing any type of autoplaying video in the Chrome browser. However, if you’re not using Chrome, then the plugin will obviously be of no use to you.
What does this mean for the future of search? Well, Wired published a rather insightful article with potential answers to that very question.
If nothing else, it opens up a window of opportunity for Google’s competitors:
“Perhaps the changes at Google aren’t enough to send you into the arms of a competitor quite yet, or to get regulators to take a second look at Google’s search dominance. But it means that the time is ripe for more competition.”