If you recently made a search on Google and noticed that the website from that result had text highlighted, you might be a part of a test the company has ongoing. Around 5% of search results are highlighting text on a website you visit.
A Google engineer confirmed on Twitter (via SearchEngineLand) that the company is currently testing out this functionality on approximately 5% of all WebAnswer results, meaning results where the user visits a website through a search snippet. Those who see this test will find that certain portions of an article are highlighted based on their Google search query.
Only a small portion of Google searches are seeing this change, so you may not be seeing it just yet. It’s unclear if Google has any plans to roll this out to a wider group of users at any point.
Notably, this functionality isn’t new to Google Search itself, as this highlighting feature first showed up with AMP pages in 2018. With searches on mobile devices, some AMP pages will immediately scroll to and highlight the portion of the article that specifically answers a question. With this test, Google is not only moving the feature to desktop users but also removing the AMP-only restriction.
This highlighting functionality also apparently only works on Google Chrome with search, as it’s using a “targetText” feature of the browser. In some cases, the feature doesn’t work properly which could be one reason Google isn’t widely rolling it out.
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