Google Briefly Demos Bard, Shows Off AI-Enhanced Lens And Multisearch Features

2023 might be the year artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies finally go mainstream. Despite global layoffs affecting thousands of employees at Google and Microsoft, these companies continue to pour in a lot of resources and bet on the innovation of AI. In fact, the battle for AI supremacy heated up substantially towards the end of January 2023 when Microsoft completely blindsided Google and announced a bunch of AI-focused updates to Bing powered by Microsoft-backed AI chatbot, ChatGPT.

Surprised and virtually backed into a corner, Google responded to Microsoft's gauntlet by announcing Bard, an AI chatbot of its own. The search giant, however, wasn't done with a simple Chatbot. At a small event held in Paris, France, the company announced significant AI-focused updates to three of its most important products — Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Translate.

While Google has made several changes to its search algorithm in the last 25 years, most of these changes have not translated to major shifts in the way people search online. Google wants to change all that by applying AI-focused advancements to Google Search, and aims to make the process of exploring information more "natural and intuitive."

What are the new AI-focused changes to Google Search?

While text-based search results continue to be the most widespread method when looking for information online, the advantage of smartphone cameras has ushered in a new wave of image-based search queries. Google addressed many of these queries with the help of Google Lens — the company's image recognition tech — which is used more than 10 billion times monthly.

While consumers can already use Lens right from the Google Search bar, a new update coming to Google Lens will allow users to search for anything that appears on their screen. The new "search your screen" update for Google Lens lets you find more information about objects and places that appear on the screen. The feature works across all apps, and gives users the information without having to exit the app. To invoke the feature, users need to prompt Google Assistant by long-pressing the home button (or power button) and tapping the "search screen" option.

The second update to Google Search came in the form of the "multisearch" feature, which lets users combine two search types in a single query. This lets users search with a picture and add a few lines of text about the picture to get more accurate, contextualized search results. In the U.S., multisearch has also been enhanced with a new feature that lets users look for an image and check for the availability of the same at local businesses.

Google confirmed that its new AI-focused search enhancements are being rolled out worldwide, and can be used in all countries where Google Lens is available.