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In the latest big update to its search engine, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) will soon show visual previews of result pages in its search results. A user who looks up a query can click on a magnifying glass adjacent to a search result in order to see a pop-up which includes a preview of the page they are considering navigating to (The feature is still being rolled out but you can preview it here).
Google says it’s making the change after determining in tests that people who use it are “5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click.”
It’s worth noting, however, that Microsoft’s Bing has had a similar preview feature since its debut in spring 2009. On Bing, users can click on an arrow adjacent to a result in order to see a pop-up that includes a preview of some text on that page to quickly determine whether it’s a promising result.
Because Google’s own feature is so visual — you see a thumbnail view of the page, with little or no called-out text — it seems more useful for determining whether a result is one a searcher has navigated to before, rather than to quickly gauge how relevant the result actually is.