Saturday, August 20, 2022

Google Search’s built-in timer is gone and no one says why

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Until recently, one of the most convenient ways to set a timer was to just search for it on Google. Enter a search query like “10 minute timer” and sure enough, you’ll get a ten minute timer. But last month there were reports that this feature was gone without warning from Google. Search engine roundtable discussion was one of the first to cover the missing timer on July 20, citing tweets from everywhere July 18.

While there’s no shortage of timers elsewhere on the web (or supplied as stock apps on iOS and Android), Google’s built-in was a simple, accessible alternative. And in addition to the timer, there was also a stopwatch function built into the same widget for when to add up instead of down. The feature dates back nearly a decade after introduced in 2013.

Google has yet to formally acknowledge the feature’s removal, so it may be that an accidental bug caused it to disappear. Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search officer, first said he would investigate the issue on July 21. Almost a week later, on July 27, the team was “still check it out.If the disappearance is a bug, then it’s a bug that might be hard to squash. A Google spokesperson did not immediately return The Verges request for comment.

Deliberately removing the feature would be an odd move for Google as it has spent much of the past decade building more features built into its search results page. What started as a simple list of hyperlinks now includes everything from rich snippets that attempt to answer your search directly to a dedicated news box and even more specific features like a built-in airline flight price comparison tool. None of these seem to be going anywhere.

And, in case you’re wondering, the one from Google Search built-in metronome is still very much alive – thank goodness.

Correction: August 1, 09:33 ET: This article originally incorrectly referred to the Search Engine Roundtable site as SEO Roundtable. We regret the mistake.

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