Internet giant Google has started to test a new feature in its search engine that will let celebrities and other figures directly answer questions with “selfie” videos that will appear in search results. The feature is first being rolled out on mobile versions of Google with some early adopting celebrities like Will Ferrel, James Franco and Mark Wahlberg joining in.
The celebrities will obviously not be able to answer everyone’s questions in real time. They are however able to pre-record their answers to the most frequent search queries about them and submit them to Google.
There are some other examples of online videos where celebrities jovially answer questions about themselves and they may have been what originally inspired Google to pursue this feature. The difference here is that these videos will appear directly in search results on mobile web or Google-owned apps.
The video answers will appear at the top of Google’s search results above the standard list of links. After a user finishes watching the video the next one will be automatically played or they can be browsed through.
This latest feature is one of a few ways in which Google has used celebrities in its search results.
Back in March, Google stated that a larger number of organisations and celebrities could use the “Posts on Google” tool. This feature was first introduced during the 2016 United States election and let people post short status updates onto Google’s first page of search results. Google has since expanded this feature to allow more types of establishments to take advantage of it.
This feature was designed to help make Google’s search engine more of a social hub as opposed to having to use Twitter results to access current events. The new celebrity video feature may simply be a gimmick but it is one that will aid Google in making their search platform feel more like a social media feed.
This reflects Google’s desire to attract a social media audience, a feat it has historically had a lot of trouble with. Due to the failure of Google+ to subvert Facebook and other missed opportunities, Google appears to want to modify its famous search engine into an area of social engagement.
Apart from encouraging more social interaction with their services, Google is likely to retain more people on their pages with this feature. Google is planning to expand the video Q&A’s to even more celebrities in the future.