Google Search autoplay videos are being tested on some users

Brittany A. Roston - Jul 27, 2017
Google Search autoplay videos are being tested on some users

If you hate Facebook’s autoplaying videos, just wait. Google has introduced the same feature into search results for some users, though it depends on the results you get. The feature has been confirmed by Google as a test, though the company didn’t go into any details. It is limited to desktop at the moment, at least based on user feedback, and it is live in the UK and Canada as well as the US.

The feature was spotted by, and later confirmed by Google to, The SEM Post. If you head to Google Search on desktop and search for a movie, there’s a chance you’ll experience the autoplaying video yourself; the audio is muted, thankfully, but the video starts without any effort on your part. These autoplaying videos are located in the information pane on the right-hand side of the screen.

According to Google’s generic statement on the matter, this is an experiment designed to test a way to ‘improve the Search experience for our users, but [we] have no plans to announce at this time.’ It’s possible the feature will be scrapped altogether and you may never see it as a result. Or it could rollout for everyone one day, meaning yet another autoplaying video to contend with.

It’s a bit of an unusual move considering how vocal Internet users are about their general dislike for autoplaying videos; it’s hard to guess what Google’s end game is here, whether it is limited to improving user experiences and nothing more or whether there’s some grander plan in play.

As pointed out by SEM Post, the autoplaying videos appear when searching for movies directly, but don’t appear when you specifically search for the movie’s trailer, a time when it seems like an autoplaying movie would be most appropriate. That may change in the future, as Google is no doubt ironing out the details. Little else is known at this point, including whether we’ll see ads begin appearing before these videos.


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