Google is well-known for constantly improving its search experience and making it user-friendly as possible — especially on mobile devices. While “Mobilegeddon”, by and large, failed to live up to the hype, Google is certainly dedicated to optimizing its products for mobile devices.
Consistent with this dedication to a seamless mobile experience is the experimentation of more images in search results. As reported on Search Engine Land, certain users have seen an increased amount of images on mobile SERPS over the last few weeks. To be clear, this new feature is in addition to Google Images results being included on SERPS, which has been in existence for some time. Another noteworthy caveat is that it appears Google is merely trying the new feature out, and thus far, it is only available for certain users.
It remains to be seen how much, if at all, Google will integrate images into mobile search results moving forward. There is certainly a case for both sides of the argument. On the one hand, many mobile searchers prefer the visual aspect of search, and thus, would likely be in favor of including thumbnail previews of websites in results. A perfect fit for including images in SERPS is the eCommerce industry — many online shoppers often shop visually, skipping over less-relevant details about a product.
Opponents of integrating the feature may argue, however, that including more images in mobile SERPS could slow down load time. Slow load times would seriously deter Google from achieving one of its core goals: providing users with the information they request as quickly and easily as possible.
According to Search Engine Land, Google has been experimenting with adding more images to mobile SERPS since December 2014. With regards to mobile, website usability seemed to have superseded search results in the eyes of Google.