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Google is testing a new feature in featured snippet results that overlay data elements from other web sites, not the site in the featured snippet. The featured snippet shows a dotted underline, that when you scroll your mouse cursor over, it overlays content from a different site.
I can replicate this using Chrome in incognito mode. The CSS around this element is defined as “data-bubble-link” I believe. Here is a screen shot of this – you can click on it to enlarge:
In this example, there are three of these dotted underlined links in this featured snippet result. All three of the links go to different sources, whereas the main featured snippet goes to a Google AMP/Web Story – which seems unusual by itself. Just to be clear, this is an auto generated story – yes, Google made this with their fancy AI work.
This was shared by Brodie Clark yesterday on Twitter. I cannot find this for other snippets but it is an interesting test.
Here is his screen shots and video grabs:
But I would consider a result like this to be especially problematic. Going off the content shown in Google’s Featured Snippet, in their own search results, citations are missing. The AMP Story has the source, but I don’t think that is good enough for an exact copy. pic.twitter.com/o4ZwGre1sB
— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) November 23, 2020
We have a few things going on here:
(1) The data overlay links, which is super interesting.
(2) That those data overlay links go to sites that are not the featured snippet’s main link.
(3) Google is showing an Web Story as a featured snippet.
(4) Google is showing a Google AMP Cache URL as the featured snippet.
Forum discussion at Twitter.