Google Says Goodbye to Search’s Instant Preview Feature

I’m definitely going to miss the instant preview feature … I wonder if they’ll eventually replace it with some other type of preview feature?

We all know that Google likes to tweak and test, and that the company is using A-B tests regularly on company websites. Google has changed the search results page significantly in recent time. First, by introducing features such as Instant Previews or the Knowledge Graph sidebar, and then by removing the black navigational toolbar and moving the search tools from the left sidebar to the top of the page.

It appears that Google is not finished yet redesigning the search results page, as it seemingly has introduced another change very recently to it.  While I can’t confirm that the change is live for all users, I can confirm that I could witness it on two different systems across multiple web browsers.

When you open Google Search now you may notice that the instant preview feature is not available anymore. The arrows that were once shown on hover over a result do not show up anymore, and the instant previews – that is a screenshot of the website taken by Google, are not available anymore either.

A small arrow icon next to the url of each page in the results is displayed instead. A click on it does not display the instant preview on the right side of the result though. Instead, you will see a small menu that links to a cached version of the page, similar pages, and sometimes sharing options as well. The share feature was not displayed on one system that I used for the test, while it was displayed on the other.

A click on cached opens a cached copy of the selected result while the selection of similar displays results that are similar in type to the selected one.

google new search context menu

It is not clear why the preview feature is removed from search, but the likely explanation is that it clashes with the Knowledge Graph feature and Google’s plans to use the sidebar for additional information and features.

Google introduced another change to its search engine recently. If you click on search tools > all results in the top toolbar you may notice that the related results search is no longer included here as well.

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