Google recently hosted its second annual Search On event showcasing its new products and an exhibition of the latest AI innovations enhancing the advanced value of information like never before.
Here’s an overview of the key announcements made by Google at the event:
MUM enhancements to Google Lens
Google has reached a critical milestone in understanding information with the Multitask Unified Model (MUM).
MUM can simultaneously understand information across a wide range of formats, like text, images and video. It can also draw insights from and identify connections between concepts, topics, and ideas about the world.
The company has been experimenting with the use of MUM’s powerful capabilities to make its products more helpful and enable entirely new ways to search.
At the Search On Demo Day, a new way to search with Google Lens, the ability to add text to visual searches and ask questions about what you see was shown.
So if you see a shirt you like, but you’d prefer the pattern on socks, you can point your camera and ask the question.
The feature will be launched on Google Lens in the coming months, starting in English.
A redesigned Search experience
With the help of advanced AI systems like MUM, the company is redesigning Google Search and introducing new features that enable natural, more intuitive ways to search.
Here are some of the steps the company is taking towards this vision:
Things to know: When you search for a topic, like acrylic painting, you can see all the different dimensions people typically search for and find the path that’s right for you. This feature will be launched in the coming months. In the future, MUM will unlock deeper insights you might not have known to search for — like “how to make acrylic paintings with household items” — and connect you with content on the web that you wouldn’t have otherwise found
Refine this search / Broaden this search: These features help you explore information by zooming in to more specific aspects of a topic, or broadening out to more general ideas. Launching in the coming months in English
A visually browsable results page: For searches where you need inspiration or want to explore information visually, Google has introduced a redesigned page that makes it easy to visually browse to find what you’re looking for. Available in English in the US when you search for visual ideas
Deeply understanding videos with MUM
A new MUM-based experience that identifies related topics in a video, even if the topic isn’t explicitly mentioned, and makes it easy for you to dig deeper and learn more, is another interesting feature being brought to light.
Launching in the coming weeks in English.
Starting soon, iOS users will see a new button in the Google app to make all the images on a page searchable through Google Lens.
This means you can now seamlessly search shoppable images on websites as you browse with Lens mode in the iOS Google App.
This will be limited to the US at this time.
Lens in Chrome
Google Lens is also being built into Chrome on your desktop.
Soon, you will be able to select images, video and text content on a website with Lens to quickly see search results in the same tab — without leaving the page you’re on.
This will be available globally in the coming months.
A more shoppable Search experience
An easy way to browse for apparel on mobile right from your Search results is another new feature.
For example, when you search for “cropped jackets,” you’d see a visual feed of jackets in various colours and styles alongside other helpful information like local shops, style guides and videos.
This new experience is powered by Google’s Shopping Graph, a comprehensive, real-time dataset of products, inventory and merchants with over 24 billion listings.
This experience is limited to the US at this time.
See in-store inventory… from home
Shoppers are increasingly starting their in-person shopping experience online.
You can now use the “in stock” filter to see if nearby stores have specific items on their shelves.
So, say you’re looking for a kids bike helmet, you can select the ‘in stock’ filter to find stores near you that have a helmet – even a specific brand or type – on their shelves.
This has already been launched in English in the US and select markets, including the UK, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
New additions to About This Result
About This Result panel is also being expanded to include more insights to help you learn more about the sources and topics you find on Search.
You can now find new insights about results, including:
More information about the source: In addition to seeing a source description from Wikipedia, you’ll also be able to read what a site says about itself in its own words when that information is available
What others have said: Reading what others on the web have written about a site — news, reviews, and other helpful background context — can help you better evaluate sources
More about the topic: In the “About the topic” section, you can find information such as top news coverage or results about the same topic from other sources
Launching in the coming weeks in English in the U.S.
The company is helping governments and NGOs provide addresses to people and businesses around the world with Address Maker, which uses Google’s open-source system Plus Codes to create unique, functioning addresses at scale.
In a matter of weeks, Address Maker helps get under-addressed communities on the map — unlocking the ability to do things many people take for granted like voting, opening a bank account, applying for a job, or even getting packages delivered.
Governments and NGOs in The Gambia, India, South Africa, Kenya and the US are already using Address Maker, with more partners on the way.
Wildfire Layer in Maps
Last year, the company launched a wildfire boundary map powered by satellite data to help people easily understand the approximate size and location of fire — right from their device.
Now, the company is increasing its coverage and bringing all wildfire information together with a new layer on Google Maps.
The layer will include emergency websites, phone numbers, and evacuation information from local governments if they’ve been provided. When available, you can also see details about the fire, such as its containment, how many acres have burned, and when all this information was last reported.
Launches globally on Android, iOS and desktop this October.
Tree Canopy Insights
Last year, the company also piloted the Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) Tree Canopy tool in Los Angeles, California.
Tree Canopy data uses aerial imagery and advanced AI capabilities to identify places in a city that are at the greatest risk of experiencing rapidly rising temperatures.
With Google Tree Canopy data, local governments have free access to insights about where to plant trees in order to increase shade and reduce heat.
The company is now expanding the Tree Canopy tool to over 100 cities around the globe, during the first half of 2022.