Cillian Bracken Conway
25th Jul, 2017

Google has confirmed that they are testing a new feature where videos auto play in search results. Considering that the tech giant has always kept search results unobtrusive, the small experiment is considered by many as a surprising move.

According to a Google spokesperson, “we are constantly experimenting with ways to improve the search experience for our users, but have no plans to announce at this time”.

movie justice league in google serps

(Photo by the SEM Post.

In this new feature, videos that will appear in the knowledge panel as a result of search queries will automatically play. It will no longer have a play button that gives users the option to play the video or not. Search for movies, televisions shows, and the like will showcase what the small experiment is all about.

To date, a majority of searchers do not expect auto-playing videos in most of their queries so the test would be something users might find annoying.

The good news is that the sound is turned off by default and will only be heard when the video is clicked. It does not play infinitely either but only plays once.

(Photo by SearchEngine Land.×474.png)

There are also no ads associated with the videos. But some videos may come with a post-roll promo that prompt users to subscribe.

Sources for the video clips do not appear to be official.

For US queries, videos that appear in search results come from a YouTube account, Googlemovietrailers, which is unclear on whether it is associated with Google or not. Videos for Canada and UK queries, on the other hand, are sourced from Movieclips Trailers and other unofficial sources.

For now, the new feature is available only on desktop, which is a relief to mobile users concerned with bandwidth usage.


Although the new feature can be useful, especially when video ads are used, some searchers may not be keen to it. However, when videos only appear when specific qualifiers are used in a search query, such as “watch”, search experience may not be as annoying.

It is a fact, however, that video marketing has become vital in digital marketing. The new feature from Google will definitely boost online video viewing that, in turn, will increase traffic. When business videos appear on search, the probability of them being shared are high.

Impressions will be made and brand confidence will be reinforced.

Videos, after all, naturally catches the eye and, more often than not, compels viewers to watch and pay attention.

Future improvements of this feature from Google can mean big to businesses and video marketers.