Google on Wednesday announced an update of its search app on mobile phones to include a personalized feed of links about hobbies, travel, sports and other topics.
The Alphabet unit is introducing a tailored feed of news, entertainment and myriad web content based on user's searches, YouTube video views and other personal information. It will appear, starting Wednesday, beneath the famous Google search box in the company's search app. It's looking at ways to bring the feature to mobile web browsers later, while the desktop homepage will stay the same.
Wednesday's announcement is an acknowledgment that Facebook's News Feed has become one of the most addictive ways to consume digital information on smartphones. Other tech companies have come to similar conclusions. LinkedIn has added more scrolling feed-like features, and this week Amazon.com Inc. launched Spark, a feed of shoppable product stories, pictures and ideas.
"We want people to understand they're consuming information from Google," Sashi Thakur, a Google engineering vice president, said. "It will just be without a query."
"This feed is really about your interests and what you are doing," said Ben Gomes, a veteran Google search executive. "It's not really about what your friends are interested in."
In addition to search history, the feed pulls data from users' location, email, digital calendars and YouTube views.
Gomes said the new feed won't include paid content at the onset, but he didn't rule that out in the future.