Google confirms a major change to search that undoes a 2-year-old decision

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Let us return to the halcyon days of 2022 when Google last offered paginated results in its search results. At the end of that year, the tech giant replaced pages with an endless scrolling method reminiscent of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. 

Reports of Google dumping continuous scroll in search results started spreading this week after a report dropped on Search Engine Land.

The initial report said that the return of pagination would start on June 25, but we could not produce search results with pagination across a few different desktop browsers. 

We contacted Google, and the company confirmed that as of June 25, the ability to scroll through desktop search results continuously is gone. Infinite scrolling on mobile will follow in the coming months. However, Google did say that not all users would see the change immediately. It's a gradual rollout that started on June 25. 

In a statement to Tom's Guide, a Google spokesperson said, "We are constantly improving the Search experience. Through testing, we found that loading more results automatically didn’t lead to significantly higher satisfaction with Search."

According to Google, the return to pages will be similar to how you remember it from the 2022 days. When you reach the bottom of a page of results, "the next page of Search results will now only load when you click 'Next' at the bottom." Mobile users will see a different "More results" button. 

Page numbers also return with this change, which is attractive for SEO folks who pride themselves on getting to the first page. Before the last year and a half, there was a constant battle among SEO experts and websites to ensure their URLs ended on page one of a Google search. It did create a mentality of page one or bust.

Continuous scrolling was meant to combat that, but it appears that many users did not like the feature. Now, the change serves results faster instead of automatically loading results that users had not requested. 

With all of the changes Search has seen in the last couple of years, including the addition and subsequent slight rollback of AI overviews to search results, seeing how the return of pagination affects websites in the future will be a sign of how users respond to Google's ongoing machinations.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.