Google has announced a new overhaul of its search tools, making it more visual and adding additional contextual information to its results.
During its Search On event, the web giant also announced new features for Google Chrome and its artificial intelligence photo software Google Lens.
The main aesthetic change is in visually searchable results, “for searches where you need inspiration” such as “for painting ideas,” according to Google, which will cause a series of images to appear at the top of search results. without having to access the Images tab.
It will also bring more contextual information, rolled out over the next few months, with a new “Things to Know” section that includes “different dimensions that people typically look for”.
Google updates search to give users more context on results
For those looking for how to paint in acrylics, for example, under the top result is a series of drop-down results that include a step-by-step guide, tips, or styling options. Google will also have new “refine this search” and “expand this search” options, so users can quickly move from one level of contextual information to another.
Google is adding more context to search in other ways by expanding its ‘About these results’ panel, which is accessible through the three-dot icon on the right side of search results on desktop or mobile.
Currently, this displays a description of a source – such as “The independent“or” from Wikipedia “- but Google will now allow sites to describe themselves” in [their] own words ”too. Users will also be able to see what others have said about a website, including “news, reviews, and other useful context,” which the company says will help users better rate sources. .
Whether this turns out to be true remains to be seen; Twitter introduced a similar system called Birdwatch where users can annotate incorrect tweets, although many users simply give an opinion or mark baseless allegations – like voter fraud in the 2020 US election – as “not misleading”. The independent has contacted Google for more information on how these claims will be verified.
In addition to search, Google’s updates for Lens will allow users to search for information based on the content of a photo, such as taking a photo of a design and asking Google for “socks with it.” pattern ”, or a picture of a broken bike chain and ask Google“ how to fix it ”. Google’s machine learning will now recognize the content of the image and search accordingly, using technology it calls Multitasking unified model (MUM) who can better understand the context and comparisons.
MUM will also be used for video search results, identifying topics that could be related to the video content even if not explicitly mentioned.
For iPhone and Android users, the Lens update will be available in the Google app which will make all images on a page searchable through Lens. Google has a clear advantage over its Android operating system but says The independent that the Google app is opened three billion times a month; for context, there are a billion iPhone users, who open a lot of apps several times a day.
A new Lens update will also arrive on Chrome on the desktop in the coming months, where users “will be able to select images, videos, and text content on a website with Lens to quickly see search results in. the same tab, without leaving the page. are you sure “.
Finally, Google’s Shopping tab gets more information about in-store items at local stores, with an “in stock” button to filter the results. It is launched today in UK, US, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, in Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.