What’s New in Search – Feb ’18

February brought a few new features and updates to the search world, including enhancements to Google Flights, a Not Secure update coming to Chrome, and the release of a new Impact Calculator related to pagespeed. Never a dull moment when Google is involved!


Here’s what we’ll be looking at this month:


  1. New Features for Google Flights/Trips Search
  2. Chrome to Mark All Sites as Not Secure
  3. Google Releases a New PageSpeed Impact Tool and makes updates to the existing PageSpeed Insights Tool


New Features for Google Flights/Trips Search

Last month, we discussed some new features added to Google Flights, focused on allowing people to narrow down results by price, as well as the new Tips section that gives users insight on whether they are saving money on the trip or not. In February, Google rolled out a couple of new updates to Flights that caught our eye.


These changes were specifically made to the mobile navigation of Google Flight search, as a way to integrate flight search and hotel search more effectively. At the top of the screen, you’ll now see a Hotels tab, so that you can easily search for lodging with the same dates you’ve selected for flights. Pretty handy!



But what really caught our eye is that Google is showing a vacation rental search option at the top of the Hotel tab (just below the map), for certain cities. We’ve seen this show up for Paris, France, where we already know Google has been running a beta test for Vacation Rentals, as well as Sydney, Australia. See the link saying “Vacation Rentals are also available for your dates” (left photo).


If you click the Vacation Rentals link, you’ll be shown a list of only Vacation Rentals available in the selected city (right photo).

Chrome to Mark All Sites as Not Secure


In February, Google announced another update coming in July (we also know that the Google Speed Update is coming in July). Starting in July 2018, any website served over HTTP and not HTTPS will be marked as not secure in Google Chrome.


Currently, the Chrome browser just shows a small “i” icon, to indicate the website is not secure: 


But come July, the not secure indicator will be much more prominent. “Not Secure” will actually be written out next to the “i” symbol, for any sites that are not on HTTPS. 


This will even apply to sites that do not take online payments and seemingly have no reason to be secure. If your site has not yet been migrated to HTTPS, you’ll want to try to take care of that by July!

Google Site Speed Tools


Google recently revamped its PageSpeed Insights tool, and it also released a new tool that shows revenue lost or gained based on page speed. Desktop pagespeed is widely known to be a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, and we now know that mobile pagespeed is also going to be a factor later this summer. So Google is arming us with all the tools we might need to get buy-in from clients and stakeholders to make investments in pagespeed.


The PageSpeed Insights tool is now using data from the Chrome User Experience Report, which means the tool is using data from actual Chrome users. Pages are grades as Slow, Average, and Fast. This is what the updated report looks like:


If you run your site in the tool, and it says “Unavailable” under the Speed tab, that just means that there’s not enough traffic and user data on your site coming from the Chrome User Experience Tool.


The new Impact Calculator shows how changes in page load time can drive revenue up or down. How does Google know how pagespeed impacts revenue? The calculator uses data The State of Online Retail Performance shows how conversions decrease with each second of delay in page load time. Plug in your domain, pagespeed, average monthly visitors, average conversion value, and conversion rate, and watch the revenue go up or down as page speed decreases or increases!


These speed tools are just two more ways Google is empowering business owners and marketers to improve the user experience of websites.