Search, next to or in conjunction with ads, is the bread and butter of Google’s business. The more people use it and stay within Search for any and all their needs, the better it is for Google. Of course, that implies that Google makes Search an indispensable tool for any and all Internet needs and that is exactly what it is saying in its I/O 2021 update, powered by AI and AR, of course.
Google Lens has become an integral part of Search on smartphones as it has become the “visual” version of searching the web using what you and your phone sees. Its power comes from how it is able to identify objects and, in the case of text, translate them. Since it has increasingly become a tool for learning as well, Google is now making it easier for people to copy or even listen to translated text for their foreign language learning.
Search on mobile has also been featuring AR results that you can display in the real world. While most of these lean towards entertainment, a few are also meant to educate or even inspire. It’s not just fictional characters or animals either as Google just added gymnast Simone Biles’s signature balance beam routine to that list.
The combination of AI and computer vision is also helping shoppers discover items on Search. Taking a screenshot of a product will prompt Google Photos to ask you to run that image through Google Lens in order to identify the product and search for it. Now that it is also opening its doors to Shopify’s 1.7 million merchants, searchers will be able to find more products from those searches.
Not all search results, however, are created equal and some might have more credibility than others. While Google’s ranking mechanism tries to surface the most trustworthy ones, it will also allow people themselves to judge those results with a new “About This Result” rolling out in English worldwide. Here they will be able to see the description of the website, when Google indexed it, and if it offers a secure connection for your peace of mind.