Google launches new search highlighting feature

Google has rolled out a new highlighting feature which aims to make it easier for users of its search engine to find the information they are looking for quickly.

Google Search Public Liaison officer Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter that the feature has now been enabled on HTML webpages, after being supported on mobile-optimised AMP pages since December 2018.

The highlighting will appear over relevant sections of text on webpages which are linked to in Google Search’s featured snippets.

Featured snippets are boxes where the format of regular listings is reversed, showing the descriptive snippet first.

Google determines whether a site has the most relevant and reliable information on a certain topic and then places a snippet containing answers to user queries at the top of a user’s search results.

For example, searching “How fast is 5G?” via Google Search on mobile or desktop will show a featured snippet which links to a HowToGeek article on the topic, as shown below.

Google Featured Snippet

From last week, clicking on this snippet will send the user to the webpage, where they will see the text relevant to their search and shown in the snippet highlighted in yellow.

The user may also be anchored down to the content shown in the featured snippet.

Google Search highlighting feature


Investigations into Google

Google Search dominates the worldwide online search engine market by an overwhelming margin.

According to figures from Statista, the platform was the go-to choice for around 87.35% of Internet users as of January 2020. It’s followed from afar by Bing with 5.53% and Yahoo with 2.83%.

A recent report from Bloomberg said US lawmakers are looking into ways to limit Google’s power in this space as part of antitrust investigations into the tech company.

DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg told the publication Justice Department officials and state attorneys had asked him about the possibility of requiring Google to provide consumers with alternatives to Google Search in its Chrome web browser and on Android devices.

Google is also reportedly being targeted for its practices in the digital advertising market.

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Google launches new search highlighting feature