Since its launch, the Google search engine has offered a simple user interface: enter a query in the field and you will find out what the Internet has to offer. The results are mostly presented as blue text with hyperlinks to other sites. In recent years, the results have been supplemented by visual results, news articles, and other forms of related content.
However, Google research groups point to the fact that a large proportion of young Internet users prefer to search for information on social networks such as Instagram and TikTok, rather than Google products. This shift in user preferences helps explain why Google is evolving its core search tools to include content from these social platforms alongside information from more traditional sources.
“The way people search and create information has never been limited to typing,” said Katie Edwards, vice president and general manager of search at Google, on the sidelines of the Search On event on Wednesday. “There is so much information on the Internet that comes in different formats and from different people with different authority and experience. »
TikTok and Reddit invite themselves to a party
Now, if a user searches for, for example, the name of a certain city, they will be able to get results that include visual stories and short videos about people who have visited that place. “We really see that as we enter this new era of search, you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for by combining images, sounds, text and speech, organized in a way that makes sense to you,” says Katie Edwards. Assuming that there is “very good content” on TikTok, the latter explains “look for other ways to integrate it into our search results.”
Google’s “new age of search” also emphasizes community discussions on forums like Reddit, another platform that serves as an alternative to Google search. Google is launching a new search feature called “Forum Discussions” that brings up these results. “Obviously, some people want to see more results from Reddit and other community forums in our results,” we say from the American giant.
However, Google is committed to ensuring that users can find “both valid and valid information” in their search tools. “In our study, we also see that people come to Google specifically to check their claims and … help them decide if they can trust what they find on the social network. »
Transforming our research
Google’s increased focus on multimodal search is not just about results, but about how people can ask questions. Earlier this year, Google introduced multiple search in beta, allowing users to search for a topic using images and text at the same time. Google will expand this feature to over 70 languages in the coming months.
At the same time, Google is also improving the functionality of its Lens service. Internet users already use Google to translate text in images over a billion times a month in over 100 languages. Now if you point your camera at an image that contains text, Lens will be able to translate the text and overlay it on the images below. For example, if you read the label on a package of chips, the text on that package will appear in your preferred language.
“Instead of overlaying the original text, we erase it and reconstruct the underlying pixels with an AI-generated background,” explains Cathy Edwards. “Then we overlay the translated text onto the image. In this way, you really get the impression that you are looking at the packaging of a product with translated text. This feature will be launched later this year.