Google Discover, the weird newsfeed side panel living to the left of the home screen on Pixels and several Android-powered smartphones, is starting to show keywords below articles.
Spotted by 9to5Google, this isn’t the first time Google has tested keywords in Discover. Keywords previously showed up in Discover back in January, but never fully rolled out. It’s possible that was a test ahead of this roll-out (itself a test), but it’s not clear.
Discover keywords appear beneath the headline in little pill-shaped buttons. Most articles have three keywords attached, although some have less. Tapping a keyword surfaces a topic page with a list of other articles connected to that keyword.
Further, the change adds options to the three-dot overflow menu that let users tell Discover if they’re not interested in a particular keyword. Overall, I’d say the ability to fine-tune what Discover surfaces is the real benefit. Previously, users could tell Discover if they were interested in a given article, while the new system could allow users to keep following topics while filtering out related items they don’t care for.
That said, keywords alone likely won’t encourage me to re-enable Discover. I turned it off years ago because it kept showing me MobileSyrup articles that I wrote — very helpful, Google. Occasionally, I check out Discover, but each time I do it’s full of weird click-bait headlines and articles that don’t have anything to do with my actual interests.
9to5 reports that the new keywords are available in the beta version of the Google app’s latest update (version 12.28). I’m on that version, but didn’t have the keywords on my device — it’s possible there’s some A/B testing going on here too, or perhaps a server-side switch.
Image credit: 9to5Google