While it was available for some time on mobile devices, Google has officially launched “Carousel” for users in the US on standard desktop machines.
Carousel is yet another new way Google is experimenting with how it displays search results, now moved out of Beta and into the main stream of Google search. With Carousel, Google provides a horizontal scrolling selection of shiny photo rich results to draw the searchers attention across the top of the results.
As a Canadian I am not privileged enough to actually get to see these results first hand. The following screenshot was found on Jennifer Slegg’s post over at SearchEngineWatch.
Google Local Carousel is primarily used for specific locally marketed industries such as restaurants and hotels, although if successful I suspect we will see Carousel appear for a larger variety of searches, perhaps even expanding outside of localized niches.
Carousel results feature an attractive thumbnail as well as business ratings and review counts. Rankings are determined based on standard Google local results – as a result, having an image within your local listing be something that will both draw the attention of a searcher and accurately represent your business is now all that much more important.
Will Carousel catch on and grow? Only time will tell, but if a recent study posted t LocalU is any indication, Carousel appears to be working quite well. Matthew Hunt from Small Business Online Coach enlisted a modest 83 searches to click on a search result that was of most interest to them. Of these 83 searchers 40 clicked on Carousel results. Now 48% is a rather strong figure, but considering that this is a new feature, the shiny results likely attracted more than what may hold true over coming months.
As some people commenting on a Search Engine Land report of this study noted they would like to see this same study done in 3-6 months to see if the novelty has worn off. A larger sample size for the study would also provide better insight to Carousel’s popularity.