Currently, when most movie fans go looking for information on new releases they're likely to visit websites like IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes. But a new update to Google Search aims to snag a significant share of that traffic by allowing users to watch movie trailers directly from their search results.
The new feature leverages YouTube to embed cinematic trailers in search results via a tiny button that now appears next to the name of the movie you're searching for in a particular city. Now, when a user types "showtimes London", for example, a list of the films currently in cinemas appears at the top of the results page with a new "trailer" button next to each title. Clicking on that button brings up a large YouTube window that automatically plays the trailer as the search results page remains dimmed in the background. A Google Maps window is also included on the right side of the page with theatre locations related to the current search.
In addition to the video content, the pop-up window also contains information about the film including the director, cast, and a brief synopsis of the plot. The only thing missing is a user rating, which Google addresses to some extent by including a Google+ button that allows users to recommend the film (current Google+ recommendation counts appear next to the button, essentially indicating the popularity of the film).
Users can also search for a specific title and area by entering a search such as "Showtimes Looper SE1," which returns only results for that film and locality, along with the trailer button option. Other search term options that work with the new feature include "film time." And, unlike other Google search functions, the film trailer search feature works best if you do not frame your text in quotation marks.
After testing the feature, it appears the update is primarily being rolled out to English-speaking countries like the UK, US, Canada, and Australia. Searches for the new-look film search using cities in China, South Korea, and Japan yielded only the old style search results pages. However, after some additional testing, we were able to find the new trailer option in select cities in Israel and India, indicating that Google intends to eventually implement the new feature on all of its global search engine landing pages.
The news of the improved film search closely follows Google's announcement that it is calling time on a number of its lesser used features, like Google News Badges.