Google Search

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Google has linked to and provided a number of convenient resources. People looking up COVID-19 information on the desktop web are seeing a redesigned Google Search experience with prominent sidebar to organize results.

This new look starts with a left navigation bar that features the “COVID-19 alert” badge up top and lists the name of the Knowledge Panel — “Coronavirus disease” — underneath. On the “Overview” page you get a carousel of “Top stories,” “Help and information” from relevant authorities, three “Top results,” and then “Local and health authorities on Twitter.”

Sections like “Common questions” and “Local and national resources” are next before the remaining seven web results round out that central column of information. At the right, there is a global Coronavirus map, with “Cases overview” counter that’s specific to your county and state in the US. Other cards provide a basic overview and “how it spreads,” while there’s finally a link to Google’s COVID-19 resources page.

As you scroll down on the page, the sidebar stays docked and links to six other sections: Symptoms, Testing, Prevention, Treatments, News, and Statistics. Each will perform a new search with dedicated cards appearing as the primary result. This navigation element is themed red with a fade-out effect, while a Share button is at the very bottom.

This subtopics sidebar is the most visually distinguishing element and helps users quickly navigate dense pages with lots of information. The updated Knowledge Panel design has long been available on mobile where Google is “dynamically organizing search results.” Instead of relying on “predetermined categories,” the engine wants to suggest what relevant things users can look up next to learn more.

The desktop variant has been in testing for the past several months, but only now widely rolling out for terms related to COVID-19 — including “unemployment” — as part of Google’s efforts to better serve information. Like on Android and iOS, it will eventually come to other queries like people and media.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: