2020 has proven that our attention spans are becoming shorter than ever. TikTok’s short-form videos ruled the meme scene, spurring about a thousand clone apps, and we watched Quibi’s rise and fall with equal parts awe and dismay.
So it only makes sense that Google is testing a new carousel in its Search results for “short videos.” The panel is similar to others already used in Search — like those for general videos and those for tweets — which are presented for some searches. The carousel appears to aggregate content mostly from Instagram and TikTok.
The new panel is actually an expansion of an experiment from earlier this year, where Google introduced a carousel of short videos within Google Discover, TechCrunch reports. It’s unclear in what circumstances the new panel will show up in Search results.
Google prides itself on its ability to tap into the zeitgeist and build features accordingly. If nothing else, the new carousel is a sign that short-form videos are here to stay.
Still some tweaking to be done — When asked for comment, Google did not expand much upon its plans for the new carousel feature. A company spokesperson did, however, confirm to TechCrunch that the feature is “currently being piloted on mobile devices.” The spokesperson confirmed also that it’s a “limited, early-stage feature.”
Like other outlets reporting on this feature, I was able to access the “Short videos” carousel by searching “packers” within the iOS version of the dedicated Google app. The feature’s newness is confirmed by how annoying it is to use at the moment — clicking an Instagram or TikTok result opens the browser version of the video, even if the Instagram or TikTok app is installed on the device. It’s a relatively minor annoyance, but one that does limit the carousel’s usability.
Short and sweet — Like other tech giants, Google has watched short-form videos take over the internet this year. The company launched its own TikTok ripoff in September, joining other entries into the market like Instagram’s Reels.
Though some (cough cough Quibi) have failed to successfully tap into the short-form market, many TikTok wannabes are making a perfectly suitable name for themselves. Google has opted for a slow-and-steady approach: YouTube Shorts is still in its beta testing phase, and the new carousel is only a pilot program, too.
Google’s latest search feature is further evidence that short-form videos are here to stay. Not even a full-on war against TikTok can stop us from cashing in on the quick serotonin hit of a hilarious short video.