New Google mobile search feature: People Search Next

Google has launched a new feature in its mobile search results called People search next, a Google spokesperson has confirmed with Search Engine Land.

The feature is meant to “help people more easily get to and see popular next searches based on what they’re searching,” according to Google’s spokesperson.

What is People Search Next? People search next is an addition to Google’s mobile search results – not a replacement for another feature. It joins other Google search features like People also ask, People also search for, Refine this search, and Related searches

The feature is available on mobile in the U.S. for English-language queries, according to Google.

Examples of People Search Next. Here’s what it looks like on a search for [dentist near me]:

Google mobile search results for [dentist near me], with the “People search next” feature.

It also shows for [eye doctor near me]:

Google mobile search results for [eye doctor near me], with the “People search next” feature.

In these examples, People search next appears just above Related searches. This seems to be a consistent pairing.

If not for Google’s mobile search results being infinite scroll, the positioning of People search next seems to be what would normally be “bottom of the SERP.” 

So far, I’ve been unable to find People search next for any types of queries other than “near me”. And it doesn’t show on every “near me” type query. Looking for [plumber near me], [restaurants near me] or even [doctor near me] failed to trigger the feature.

However, Google says the search feature is not limited only to local, “near me” searches. Google also told me that People search next will appear “when our systems have a good sense of what might be a helpful next search.”

Why we care. It’s important to watch any changes Google makes to its search engine results pages (SERPs). Space taken up by a Google search feature, such as this one, means Google could potentially take away actual results for relevant webpages, or clicks and traffic from websites Google shows in the organic results. This seems like a feature that is designed to keep people on Google longer, going further down search rabbit holes, rather than clicking on actual search results. In short, if Google search truly is a provider of answers, is it fair to say that they are also in the business of adding the questions as well?

As for how you can potentially use it? For content research. You now have yet another resource – straight from Google – to get content ideas.

We were alerted about this new feature by Saad AK on Twitter.


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About The Author

Danny Goodwin is Senior Editor of Search Engine Land. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for Search Engine Land, Goodwin also manages Search Engine Land’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo. Prior to joining Search Engine Land, Goodwin was Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He also was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.