Google built its reputation on a search engine that had the psychic ability to find the website that best fit your query, but times change. In recent years, Google's search tools have expanded to produce a more app-like experience, especially on mobile. For example when you search for recipes, you now get large images of food, recipe ratings, and the ability to send the recipe to a connected device in your kitchen.
Meanwhile, Google keeps potentially vast records of your past search queries and some content consumption, which you can check out at any time on the My Activity page of your Google account. Here you can see your past interactions with the Google Assistant, Google News, the Play Store, and you can search through it and delete whole swaths of it.
Now Google is leveraging your search history and browsing history on the Google Search site itself, by giving you a drop-down list of related searches that you've done in the past, and sites that you've visited within the Google Chrome browser (download for Android or iOS) or in the Google App (download for Android or iOS).
The company pitches this as helping you pick up a search where you left off, and this feature will appear on the mobile web version of Google Search as well as within the Google App -- and the update has already started rolling out.
Google product manager Andrew Moore says in the announcement, "If you're logged into your Google account and search for topics and hobbies like cooking, interior design, fashion, skincare and beauty, fitness, photography and more, you may find an activity card at the top of the results page that provides easy ways to continue your exploration."
In the new Your Related Activity section, which will appear right underneath the Google search box, there will be a three-dot menu as well as the arrow that expands to show you related searches. This menu will let you customize the content that the feature produces, or you can completely disable it. You can also long-press on a related activity to delete it from your records or to add a bookmark.
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Of course, there may be gaps in your search and browsing history, because you're not always logged into a Google account when you go to Google's search site, and you may not be using Chrome all the time, or ever. So the utility of Your Related Activity will scale exactly according to how plugged into Google you are. In the end, it may be a subtle incentive.
- Google has beefed up its search results with a drop-down menu containing related searches. This menu is populated according to your past Google searches, and your web browsing in Chrome.
- This new feature has already started rolling out, though it's currently limited to the mobile Google search site and the Google App.
- Google's Assistant and Maps apps drop Android Auto and Apple CarPlay requirements
- Google acquires Q&A app 'Superpod' to improve its Assistant
- Google Assistant and Smart Display get several new features for the holidays
- Google Assistant Connect lets device makers roll their own hardware (CNET)
- OK Google, who's got the smartest speaker of them all? (ZDNet)
- CES 2019: Google Assistant helps business travelers interpret, get directions, check into flights (TechRepublic)