MANILA, Philippines – Google at their annual Google Search event, Search On, held on September 28, announced major new features coming to Search, including changes to how people can look for products when shopping, the automatic inclusion of results from forums like Reddit, new Google Maps features designed for immersion, and the ability to use a combination of text and images to perform a search.
The latter, called multisearch, allows you to perform a search using a photo or a screenshot and then add text to it. The function, Google said in its press statement, is “similar to the way you might naturally point at something and ask a question about it.”
At a media roundtable, a Google spokesperson also explained that multisearch represents an “entirely new way to search and allowed us to help people find information to questions that they previously could not have asked a search engine.”
Multisearch has been available in English prior to the Search On 2022 event. At the event, they announced that the feature will now be coming to over 70 languages in the coming months.
A “multisearch near me” is a more localized version, with results that are more attuned to the location of the user. A screenshot of a dish for example might return results showing which nearby restaurant it is available. It will be rolled out in the US in English later this year.
Google also announced improvements to search suggestions. Google said, “As you start typing in the search box, we’ll provide keyword or topic options to help you craft your question. Say you’re looking for a destination in Mexico. We’ll help you specify your question – for example, “best cities in Mexico for families” – so you can navigate to more relevant results for you.”
Immersive View, shopping features, Reddit results
For Google Maps, the company showcased Immersive View, which allows users to zoom closer into the neighborhood including, for example, the inside of a restaurant. First showcased at Google I/O 2022 back in May, it will also provide computer-aided visualization of how crowded a place might be at a specific time. The rollout of this feature will currently be limited to five cities – Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo. At the event, Google announced that Google Maps will also be showing immersive aerial views of 250 landmarks around the world.
Google said it is also improving the search shopping experience, but mostly in the US at the moment. Users can start with “shop” followed by the item they’re searching for, and Google will show them a shopping feed. From there, there are suggested images showing, for example, a complete outfit worn by a model. Each item worn by the person in the image will be shown at the bottom, including where to buy them and what brand.
Google will also be providing 3D models of sneakers, generated via machine learning, using only a handful of photos for each sneaker.
Lastly, Google will also be having a specialized tab for results coming from online forums such as Reddit or Quora. If you have ever searched for something, and then appended “Reddit” or “Quora” to it in order to get answers straight from other users, it appears that Google’s new features are designed to make it easier to view such results.
“‘Discussions and forums,’ will include helpful content from a variety of popular forums and online discussions across the web. For example, if you search for the best cars for a growing family, in addition to other web results, you’ll now see links to forum posts that include relevant advice from people, like their experience with minivans for transporting multiple children,” Google explained. – Rappler.com