Google has confirmed that they are running a small experiment where they are auto-playing videos in the search results page. The test was spotted by Jennifer Slegg after conducting some tests using Internet Explorer on the morning of July 24. The video in the knowledge panel will begin playing automatically if you are in this experiment.
A spokesperson for Google confirmed the limited test, saying that “we are constantly experimenting with ways to improve the search experience for our users, but have no plans to announce at this time.”
Jennifer Slegg, who was able to replicate this test, wrote “when you do a search for some movies (and possibly television shows), Google will begin autoplaying a video in the right hand sidebar, appearing within the knowledge panel.”
Below, you can see the play button in the right section of the video thumbnail wouldn’t be there, and the video and audio would instead play automatically.
It’s interesting that Google would be doing this experiment, since Google likes keeping the search results unobtrusive With videos that auto-play videos, the searcher wouldn’t be expecting it with most queries. It’s possible that it could be annoying.