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Chrome’s new sidebar lets you blast through search results

Chrome’s new sidebar lets you blast through search results


For if you don’t want to deal with going back and forth between the search page and the results it brings up

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Screenshot of Google’s search in side panel.
The side panel is getting an upgrade.
Image: Google

Google Chrome has a new sidebar that should make it faster and easier to check out a bunch of search results in a row without having to bounce back and forth between the search page and whatever websites it links to. Google also says that it’s bringing its price tracking feature to desktop after a few months of it being available on mobile versions of the browser.

Google’s blog post explains how to access the new sidebar: after you click on a search result, you’ll be taken to the webpage, and a little Google logo will pop up in your address bar. Clicking that button opens the sidebar that shows you results for the search you did to get to the page (though you can search for something new if you like). From there, you can click on results, which will open in the main window of the tab.

Gif showing how to use the Google search sidebar, with someone going through different results, and then changing the search entirely.
Google pitches the feature as a great way to compare results.

For me, this seems like a great feature when you’re just trying to find the best result — for example, if I were looking for a chili recipe and knew I was going to immediately bounce off ones that required ingredients I didn’t have in my cupboard. Instead of having to hit the back button each time I discovered a recipe wouldn’t work and then having to figure out where I left off in the list of search results, I could just keep the sidebar up and check out a bunch of recipes in a row.

This isn’t Chrome’s first sidebar. Earlier this year, Google rolled out a new feature that let you get at your reading list and bookmarks from a slide-out pane. The search feature shows up in the same area and even highlights the sidebar button. The feature is also similar to Edge’s sidebar, though Microsoft’s version has a lot more functionality packed inside and acts more like a separate mini-browser than a control pane for loading search results in the main window.

Screenshot of Google’s Track prices with Chrome feature, which shows a “track price” button.
I see it. I want it. I tracked it. I waited for an email.
Image: Google

Google also announced that Chrome will be getting a built-in price tracking feature that will send you emails whenever a certain product gets cheaper. In theory, a “Track price” button should show up whenever you visit a store page and are signed in to the browser — though, I couldn’t get it to show up in either the current version of Chrome or the beta branch. The feature has been in the works for a bit. Google announced it as part of a big shopping push last month.