Google Adds Instant Preview Images to Mobile Search

Instant Previews added the ability to see a snapshot of the actual page within the search results on Google’s desktop search.

Google Instant Preview Desktop Search

And as of Tuesday, Instant Previews are now available on Android and iOS devices.

Take a look at this search for “autos.ca” (which just joined the Mediative family) on my iPhone. Note how there is a little magnifying glass on the right side of the search results.

Google Instant Previews for Mobile Search

When you touch the magnifying glass, you get taken to a scrolling set of page thumbnails.

Google Instant Preview for Mobile Search Example

Especially if you’re concerned about mobile data usage or slower load times, the instant previews let you visually compare all 10 results at a glance. If you’re looking for a specific type of page (e.g., an article versus a top 10 list versus a photo gallery), it’s easy to identify which result might best suit your needs.

This has similar implications to the instant previews in the desktop experience: your site’s visual design may now contribute to a searcher’s decision to click your result. At such a small size, clean designs, good visual hierarchy, and testing with things like the “squint test” (have someone squint their eyes while looking at your site – can they still tell what it’s about, what the important pieces of content are, and where calls to action are on the page?) are especially important.

On a mobile device, it also gives the searcher the chance to see whether you provide a mobile experience: Google will show the mobile version of your site if you have one.

I actually prefer the mobile instant preview to the desktop version, because all 10 thumbnails are shown at the same time rather than having to click on each one individually. What do you think?

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