Google is bringing Top Stories known from mobile to the SERPs on desktop.
Google has made some major changes to search recently. The company announced end of September that Penguin (Penguin 4.0 if you still count versions) is now part of the core algorithm and is real-time. While for most users of Google this algorithm change is not of interest, there is a new user interface on desktop search result pages that are quite different.
Google is now featuring stories in "Top stories" instead of "In the news" in SERPs. The layout looks similar like the Top stories carousel for AMP pages on the mobile interface of Google. The content shown in top stories is a mix of Google News articles and other relevant sources. Google has started to mix content into the news block a while ago. When you searched for a new movie trailer the youtube link would appear. If you searched for a celebrity, his latest tweet would show up in the news section.
This mix of sources is like one reason why Google is switching to calling these featured results "top stories." The Top stories layout makes the featured content stand out from the organic search results in a big way. Each story has a rather big thumb nail and the individual tiles are over 110 pixel tall and are either placed on top or after a few organic results.
The Top stories layout is not rolled out to all users of Google.com yet. I only encountered it on one browser, where I am not logged into my Google account. It is not clear yet when and if Top stories will roll out on the Google desktop SERPS.