Google has updated the search results pages by adding breadcrumbs to the top of the page. The breadcrumbs are triggered by informational search queries and are accompanied by images. This search display update is a dramatic step away from how Google displays search results. The change is apparently part of an evolving mobile-first version of Google.
Redefinition of Google’s Mobile First Index
Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first index and this has been commonly understood to mean that Google will favor sites that render well in mobile devices, per Google’s own announcements. Google has also been transitioning to new ways of displaying information that is appropriate for mobile devices. The breadcrumb SERPs appear to be a part of this transition of the SERPs.
There has not been an official announcement about the breadcrumb search results. These results are displaying for searchers, so it’s probably not a test.
Mobile First User Interface
This change to how Google displays search results, as well as other recent updates may indicate that Google is undertaking a radical step away from what search results look like. This may be an indication of Google’s shift toward displaying information in a mobile-first format, a mobile-first UI.
What Google means by a mobile-first index seems to also embrace how information can be displayed on a mobile device, a mobile-first SERP UI.
The search results are increasingly appropriate for mobile devices. When users search for certain kinds of information, Google is now showing search results in a format that is easy for someone on a mobile phone to evaluate.
Google is taking advantage of user interactions that are specific to mobile devices, such as swiping. Google is also increasing the use of images in the search results. Nevertheless, they still work well on desktop computers. Google seems to be transitioning to Mobile First Search Results, which is different from the previously announced mobile-first search index.
A mobile-first search index is about showing sites that are mobile friendly. A mobile-first search result is a complete rethinking of how the search results are displayed.
Examples of Google’s Breadcrumb Display
This is an example of a search result for the query, Prime Ministers of India:
Notice the breadcrumb highlighted by the arrow I placed in the screenshot. The images can be swiped on a mobile phone. Clicking an image will take you to a second Google search result that offers more information about the entity. The screenshot below is the second search result after clicking on one of the images: