In a limited experiment, Google Search started showing similar numbers for articles in the Android app’s Discover feed for some.
When browsing news and blog posts on social media, the number of likes can be a useful metric when deciding what to read. Google, of course, hasn’t had a proper social networking app for years after Google+ shut down.
However, it has long been possible to share your positive or negative review of an article in the Google Discover feed. The feedback system was originally heavily focused on honing your personal tastes by upvoting the posts you like and downvoting the ones you don’t. Eventually, this was simplified to a heart-shaped button in every map, while down-voting moved to a “Not interested in this” option in a menu.
Google now appears to be trying a second purpose for the Discover feed’s “Like” button. In a limited experiment, the Discover feed now shows a similar counter for individual articles and videos, revealing how many other Google Search users liked a post enough to vote it up.
The change marks an interesting potential shift for the Discover feed. For potential readers, there would be a visible measure of the quality of reception of a piece of content. This has the potential to hurt smaller publications trying to get their content into more people’s Discover feeds – they may feel pressured to encourage readers to click the “Like” button. “.
Meanwhile, there’s no clear indication today that clicking the like buttons on the Discover feed does anything other than help you organize your own feed. It may come as a surprise to some that their comments are also shared (anonymously) as an endorsement of the post for others.
So far, the experimental-type meter has only been spotted in a carousel of articles all about a particular topic. This appears to be even more limited, as we only spotted the number of likes on one device during a single refresh of the Google Discover feed.
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