- Google held its second annual Search On event on Wednesday, showcasing the latest updates to search functions.
- The company touted its artificial intelligence and ability to answer more specific and complex questions.
Google is redesigning its flagship search engine, and users may find that future results keep them on Google’s own properties for even longer.
in its second annual search event, called Search On, Google showed its latest batch of progress in search results. The company touted its artificial intelligence and ability to answer more specific and complex questions.
Executives said the new AI technology, called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, is 1,000 times more powerful than the BERT model that powers Google Search. By pulling data from text, images, and video, the MUM can tell a user what is needed for a specific hike on Mount Fuji.
If men’s sweatshirts are searched, Google will show more results that include links to retailers, reviewing blogs and videos from YouTube, said Matt Madrigal, Google’s vice president of merchant shopping. The site will also make recommendations and let users compare prices without having to click through, he said.
Madrigal cited the example of trying to find “the best hat for a small head” or “that awesome design based on a snowboard”.
While Google parent Alphabet has expanded into cloud computing, driverless cars and other projects well beyond online ads, search remains the company’s lifeblood. But as it gets bigger, the company pays partner content sites more as well.
In the most recent quarter, Google paid more than the $1 billion expected by Wall Street analysts for traffic. Those costs increased by more than 50% compared to the same period a year ago. Keeping users on Google sites is potentially one way to keep costs under control.
Google said it will bring its image recognition technology, Google Lens, to its Chrome Internet browser so users can view search results alongside a website.
“Soon, you’ll see a new button in the Google app on your iPhone to quickly search through all the images on the page,” Madrigal said. “There’s no need to leave the website you’re on.”
The company said it would also include a store listing on its site.
Search vice president Pandu Nayak said a person taking a screenshot of the shirt would be able to get recommendations from Google’s retailers.
For example, someone who photographs a bike may discover how to fix a particular component.
“We’ll show you everything you need to get your bike back on test,” he said, showing search results from websites, videos and blogs. The first result featured in their demo was a video from YouTube.
Another Google vice president, Elizabeth Reid, said the search page would become “an endless stream of visual ideas.”
She said the company is adding a “Things to Know” section that will show step-by-step instructions on how to perform a task or offer a new technology.
“For example, you can make acrylic paintings that you can find around your house,” Reid said. “After all, it has something to do with all those old kitchen sponges.”
Users can learn the technique of “puddled pouring” or search for famous painters, Reid said.
“Sometimes you don’t know what you want until you see it,” she said.
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