Google appears to be rolling out a brand new search feature for its flagship Android app which allows users to delve deeper into the topic of a given card. Specifically, the new feature allows users to either perform a full Google search for the topic or see an in-feed list of related news separated onto their own cards. The functionality is making appearances in the Google app all the way back to version 8.1 through the current beta. Android users who gain access to the new feature will see a right-facing chevron arrow on the main interface of any given feed. A tap on that will load the said list of related news and articles and a tap on any of those will open any particular story, as expected. The new page has its own unique UI, with an associated "topic" image and title. Tapping that topic image or text will perform a standard Google search.
The feature does actually fall well within the natural progression of Google's search functionality and comes quite close to lining up with the former Google Play Newsstand. That app was recently updated to the Google News application and has a similar feature for any story where there might be background provided by previous articles. There is, of course, a completely different icon in that application and it's located below a given article. But the app is also split into key topics that have a similar feel to Google Feed's new UI. So it may be that Google is trying to bring more consistency to its application while also delivering a better way for users to quickly follow up on big events or news days.
However, this could very well simply be a test feature rather than one that's rolling out to everybody. There's just no guarantee that the search giant will ever push for a full release at all. With that said, this also lines up well with another test feature Google recently brought to some users with regard to topic bubbles. That placed topic bubbles in the feed itself and, although speculative at best, it could be a secondary part of that function or an alternative design for the same basic feature.