Google’s recent Search On 2022 event, its third annual event in this informative series, offered a rare peek into the inner workings of the world’s most popular search engine, particularly how Google is using machine learning to improve the search experience.
Google described this event as “going beyond the search box to create multidimensional search experiences that work more like our minds.” As the search engine strives to make search more natural and intuitive and improve the user experience, there are new tools, features, and functions brands will want to know about. In this post, we will summarize the top highlights as well as 10 key takeaways we learned from Google Search On 2022.
1. Google multisearch is expanding with ‘near me’
Google launched multisearch in beta earlier this year, enabling people to use images and text to search simultaneously. At Search On 2022, we learned multisearch is expanding to over 70 languages in the coming months.
Another feature for local marketers to get excited about is ‘Multisearch Near Me,’ in which users can take a picture of an object or item and have Google return local business results showing them where to find it. This new capability will launch in the U.S. this fall.
Google explains how to use multisearch:
“To get started, simply open up the Google app on Android or iOS, tap the Google Lens camera icon and either search one of your screenshots or snap a photo of the world around you, like the stylish wallpaper pattern at your local coffee shop. Then, swipe up and tap the “+ Add to your search” button to add text.”
2. Google is using AI to translate images
Advancements in artificial intelligence have empowered Google to go beyond translating passages of text to translating images. This is an important development for local businesses, as Google explains that people are using its services to translate text in images over 1 billion times a month, in more than 100 languages. Local consumers use this functionality to understand business signage, menus, and other content in the physical world.
Google announced, “We’re now able to blend translated text into the background image thanks to a machine learning technology called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs).” This means that a consumer standing in front of one of your business locations could point their phone at the signage and see text in their native language appear, not only translating the content but describing the imagery.
3. Google Maps overlays local business information with the real world
Google Maps is getting ready to move into a new era – one where maps are not just two-dimensional anymore. They’re launching a beta version of Street View for iOS, Android, and Windows devices that lets users explore three-dimensional views of places around them.
The latest version of Google Maps brings in more data to give you a better sense of the local environment. You’ll now see detailed 3D maps of your surroundings, including the traffic, weather, public transit, landmarks, and businesses, all in one location.
And there are plenty of new additions to explore. For instance, you can now zoom into the streets of downtown Manhattan, check out some of the shops and restaurants around you, and see how busy they are at that time of day.
Google plans to add over 250 aerial views of world-famous landmarks in the coming months. Google also wants to expand the technology powering Google Maps to create new features in Live View to help users navigate more naturally.
4. Online shopping is becoming more personalized
Google launched nine new features designed to revolutionize people’s online shopping experience. Dynamic shopping filters and tools will give consumers more control over how they shop.
Consumers will be able to shop in 3D and add specialized search features such as “Shop,” “Shop the Look,” and “Trending Products.” By adding “shop” before any search query, this feature will make shopping results easier to find for users.
The “Trending Products” section will combine trending items across categories and brands. A new “Buying Guide” tool will offer tips on how to buy specific products, including step-by-step instructions and videos. Google’s also adding personalized shopping results based on your search history.
“Page Insights” will help shoppers by consolidating product information, product ratings, and the pros and cons of a product in one place. Customers can also stay on top of deals and discounts by opting in for price updates.
5. Making sustainable options the simple choice
Google wants to help people reduce their carbon footprint and make more sustainable choices. This is why they are finding more ways to shop for pre-owned clothing and items, providing information on annual fuel cost and the ability to compare specs with other cars, and ingredient-level emissions for recipes with details from the United Nations.
In addition to these efforts, Google’s launching a new tool called eco-friendly routing. This will soon be available in Europe, Canada, and the U.S., letting users see how eco-friendly a route is when they travel by car, bus, train, bike, or walking in Google Maps.
Ride-sharing apps will also have access to this tool to regulate fuel efficiency and find an eco-friendly route. These features are part of Google’s ongoing work to help people live greener lives.
6. More perspectives
Google is planning to roll out a new feature that will allow people to access translated news stories from across the globe.
They will start translating Spanish, German, and French news articles into English. These translations will be done with machine translation so people can better understand what’s happening in a given area.
The goal here is to give people a better understanding of what’s happening worldwide by removing language barriers and providing information from authoritative reporting.
7. Privacy options expand
One of the latest changes to Google Search is “Results about you.” It allows people to opt out of having their personal data shared with third-parties, including advertisers.
In addition, Google announced a new initiative to flag instances where your personally identifiable information (PII) might be exposed on other platforms like YouTube, Gmail, and Android apps and alert you about it.
8. Discussions and forums addition
The search giant announced that it is adding a new section called “Discussion and forums” to help users find useful information and answers to questions. This new section will include helpful content from various popular discussion boards and forums across the internet.
For example, if someone searches for “best hotels in New York City,” the new section might show relevant posts from travel forums like TripAdvisor or Expedia, along with helpful content from blogs and articles about the city.
In addition, the new section will surface helpful content from various popular forums and Q&A sites, including Reddit, Quora, and StackOverflow. These sites often contain helpful information and answers to common questions from people with first-hand experience.
9. Improved autocomplete search queries
Google Search will now include several improvements to provide better suggestions and predictions that more closely align with search intent. One of the most significant changes involves how Google handles autocomplete searches – specifically, it predicts what people are typing into the search bar.
While the previous method worked well, it was still prone to making mistakes. However, Google will do a much better job of predicting what people want to type next.
In addition to improving autocomplete searches, Google also appears to be working on improving the accuracy of its mobile app rankings.
For example, Google is now showing fewer ads on the home screen of Android devices. Instead, the company is trying to deliver relevant information based on the device’s location, such as weather forecasts and local news.
10. Food recommendations
Google announced a slew of improvements to its recipe and restaurant search features, making finding the perfect meal even more effortless. Search results will show you images of dishes along with information like ingredients, cooking instructions, and ratings from trusted sources like Yelp and OpenTable.
You’ll also see a list of restaurants near you that serve those dishes. And if you want to know whether a particular dish tastes good, take a picture of it or use one from the internet, and Google will suggest places nearby where you can try it.
Search On 2022 is a great opportunity for SEO pros and marketers to learn about new Google Maps and Search features and capabilities that can give first adopters an advantage over the competition. Stay ahead of local search trends in your space with these other helpful resources, too: