Tag Archives: Search

Shop early for the best holiday deals online and nearby

Black Friday typically has the biggest deals of the season. But this year, holiday shopping is starting earlier than usual. With safety top of mind, retailers have moved away from typical doorbuster events and are beginning to promote their discounts online. Shoppers are starting earlier too: searches for“early deals” in the U.S. have increased significantly over the last month. 

To help you take advantage of these deals in online and local stores, we’re sharing some new and revamped features on Google Shopping in the U.S.—including price insights, price comparison and price tracking. And if you’re looking for additional ways to shop safely from stores in your community, check out our previous post from September to see how Google can help.


Know whether you’ve found a good price

Everyone loves finding a good deal, but it can be difficult to know how “good” that deal really is. Starting today, you can quickly see whether the price offered for an item is high, low or typical, compared to other prices from across the web and in nearby stores. Just search on Google and hop over to the Shopping tab. Then, select your favorite product to land on the Shopping product page, where you’ll find these new price insights.

Animation showing price insights on Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1

Easily compare prices and shipping options 

From the same page, you can also view various price and purchasing options from a range of stores, with both online and local options listed for easy comparison. Over the next few days, you’ll see curbside and in-store pickup annotations as well. 

Animation showing a product page including compare prices and more locations tabs

Track prices to get notifications for future deals

Too early to make your purchase or didn’t find the deal you’re looking for? You can turn on price tracking from Shopping product pages to receive alerts for price drops on any products you’re considering. Just make sure you’re signed into your Google account and you’ll receive notifications through email or on the Google Search app. To see all the products you’re tracking or to unsubscribe from alerts, just head to your Google account and go to My Activity.

Animation showing price tracking

We hope these tools will help you get a jumpstart on your shopping, so you can find all the best gifts, prices, and places to buy.

A united front against online piracy in Asia Pacific

With more people staying at home, video streaming is up everywhere—and by as much as 60 percent in Southeast Asia, according to a Media Partners Asia study. That makes it all the more critical that we and our partners in the region continue to address the serious challenge of online piracy.   


Google’s overall approach is set out in our Anti-Piracy Principles, and we work closely with media and entertainment industry organizations to tackle new challenges. Two years ago, we started talking to the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), the trade group for the video ecosystem in Asia, about how we could collaborate. Since then, we’ve been having quarterly forums with their members: broadcasters, operators and telcos. We also make sure AVIA members are aware of new features like What to Watch, to ensure their legitimate content is visible and prominent on the Search results page.


To learn more about online piracy in Asia Pacific (APAC), we spoke to Louis Boswell, CEO of AVIA. 


How does the APAC region differ from others when it comes to broadcast, media and  entertainment?

There are very divergent tastes in content across APAC, which is not surprising given the different cultures and languages. The genres that work best across multiple markets would be a mix of Western, Korean and Chinese content. These genres are widely available, but fragmented over many services, some not mature, and business models vary. In parts of the region, people have never developed a habit of paying for content, so platforms often feel they have to adapt their business models to compete with piracy in a far more pronounced way than in the West. In terms of consumption, many markets are mobile-first.


What role should education play in efforts to fight piracy? Do consumers in the region know how to access legitimate alternatives and why they should choose these options?

Consumer awareness is important to any anti-piracy strategy. Consumers need to know the very real risks they face from malware when accessing piracy sites or using illicit applications. Most people know that what they are accessing is stolen content: in a recent YouGov survey, commissioned by AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), when asked who was most responsible for preventing piracy, Singaporeans chose “the individual, for choosing not to watch pirated content.” There are many legal and reliable video streaming services available in Southeast Asia. Websites that are dedicated to infringement are unreliable, put people at risk of malware infection, and fund crime groups. 


Over the last few years, Google has been a partner of AVIA—working to fight piracy in the region. Why are these types of partnerships worthwhile?

Piracy is an industry-wide problem, and industry needs to come together to fight it. AVIA represents many of the biggest IP owners in the region and Google has the most popular search engine and online video platform, so a couple of years ago we both agreed that it made sense for us to sit down and have a frank and open conversation about the problems of piracy, understand the tools and measures Google is putting in place, and provide a forum for our members to raise concerns that Google may be able to address.


It has been a constructive and collaborative process which has been appreciated on both sides. And it has led to new initiatives, including a workshop AVIA arranged for many of its Asia-based IP creators across India, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia—designed to make better use of Google’s tools for removing infringing content. It’s a positive step that content producers, distributors and industry associations are now working together to address the problems, as well as partnering with technology platforms, payment processors, e-market platforms and other intermediaries.

Find voting and ballot drop box locations on Google

This year, searches for "how to vote" in the U.S. are higher than ever before. To make it easier to find information about how and where to vote—regardless of your preferred voting method—we’ve launched election-related features with information from trusted and authoritative organizations in Google Search.  


Starting today, when you go to Google Search and Maps for information on where to vote, you’ll find helpful features that show the voting locations closest to you. On Google, search for things like “early voting locations” or “ballot drop boxes near me” and you'll find details on where you can vote in person or return your mail-in ballot, whether you're voting early or on Election Day. It will also include helpful reminders, like to bring your ballot completed and sealed. 


Just as easily, you’ll soon be able to ask, “Hey Google, where do I vote?” and Google Assistant will share details on where to vote nearby on your Assistant-enabled phone, smart speaker or Smart Display.

Where to vote.gif

After you’ve selected a voting location or ballot drop box in your area, you can click through from Google Search or Google Assistant to Google Maps for quick information about how far it is, how to get there, and voting hours. Similarly, if you search for your voting location in Google Maps you’ll have easy access to the feature in Search to help you confirm where you can cast your vote. 


The official information in this feature comes from the Voting Information Project, a partnership between Democracy Works, a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization, and state election officials. Through the Voting Information Project, we plan to have more than 200,000 voting locations available across the country. For places where voting locations are not yet available, we’ll surface state and local election websites. As more locations become available, or if there are changes, we’ll continue to update the information provided across Google Search, Assistant and Maps.

How AI is powering a more helpful Google

When I first came across the web as a computer scientist in the mid-90s, I was struck by the sheer volume of information online, in contrast with how hard it was to find what you were looking for. It was then that I first started thinking about search, and I’ve been fascinated by the problem ever since. 


We’ve made tremendous progress over the past 22 years, making Google Search work better for you every day. With recent advancements in AI, we’re making bigger leaps forward in improvements to Google than we’ve seen over the last decade, so it’s even easier for you to find just what you’re looking for. Today during our Search On livestream, we shared how we're bringing the most advanced AI into our products to further our mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Helping you find exactly what you’re looking for

At the heart of Google Search is our ability to understand your query and rank relevant results for that query. We’ve invested deeply in language understanding research, and last year we introduced how BERT language understanding systems are helping to deliver more relevant results in Google Search. Today we’re excited to share that BERT is now used in almost every query in English, helping you get higher quality results for your questions. We’re also sharing several new advancements to search ranking, made possible through our latest research in AI: 


Spelling

We’ve continued to improve our ability to understand misspelled words, and for good reason—one in 10 queries every day are misspelled. Today, we’re introducing a new spelling algorithm that uses a deep neural net to significantly improve our ability to decipher misspellings. In fact, this single change makes a greater improvement to spelling than all of our improvements over the last five years.

A new spelling algorithm helps us understand the context of misspelled words, so we can help you find the right results, all in under 3 milliseconds.


Passages

Very specific searches can be the hardest to get right, since sometimes the single sentence that answers your question might be buried deep in a web page. We’ve recently made a breakthrough in ranking and are now able to not just index web pages, but individual passages from the pages. By better understanding the relevancy of specific passages, not just the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for. This technology will improve 7 percent of search queries across all languages as we roll it out globally.

With new passage understanding capabilities, Google can understand that the specific passage (R) is a lot more relevant to a specific query than a broader page on that topic (L).


Subtopics

We’ve applied neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad. As an example, if you search for “home exercise equipment,” we can now understand relevant subtopics, such as budget equipment, premium picks, or small space ideas, and show a wider range of content for you on the search results page. We’ll start rolling this out by the end of this year.


 

Access to high quality information during COVID-19

We’re making several new improvements to help you navigate your world and get things done more safely and efficiently. Live busyness updates show you how busy a place is right now so you can more easily social distance, and we’ve added a new feature to Live View to help you get essential information about a business before you even step inside. We’re also adding COVID-19 safety information front and center on Business Profiles across Google Search and Maps. This will help you know if a business requires you to wear a mask, if you need to make an advance reservation, or if the staff is taking extra safety precautions, like temperature checks. And we’ve used our Duplex conversational technology to help local businesses keep their information up-to-date online, such as opening hours and store inventory.

Understanding key moments in videos

Using a new AI-driven approach, we’re now able to understand the deep semantics of a video and automatically identify key moments. This lets us tag those moments in the video, so you can navigate them like chapters in a book. Whether you’re looking for that one step in a recipe tutorial, or the game-winning home run in a highlights reel, you can easily find those moments. We’ve started testing this technology this year, and by the end of 2020 we expect that 10 percent of searches on Google will use this new technology.

Deepening understanding through data

Sometimes the best search result is a statistic. But often stats are buried in large datasets and not easily comprehensible or accessible online. Since 2018, we’ve been working on the Data Commons Project, an open knowledge database of statistical data started in collaboration with the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, World Bank and many others. Bringing these datasets together was a first step, and now we’re making this information more accessible and useful through Google Search.


Now when you ask a question like “how many people work in Chicago ,” we use natural language processing to map your search to one specific set of the billions of data points in Data Commons to provide the right stat in a visual, easy to understand format. You’ll also find other relevant data points and context—like stats for other cities—to help you easily explore the topic in more depth. 

Helping quality journalism through advanced search

Quality journalism often comes from long-term investigative projects, requiring time consuming work sifting through giant collections of documents, images and audio recordings. As part of Journalist Studio, our new suite of tools to help reporters do their work more efficiently, securely, and creatively through technology, we’re launching Pinpoint, a new tool that brings the power of Google Search to journalists. Pinpoint helps reporters quickly sift through hundreds of thousands of documents by automatically identifying and organizing the most frequently mentioned people, organizations and locations. Reporters can sign up to request access to Pinpoint starting this week.

Search what you see, and explore information in 3D

For many topics, seeing is key to understanding. Several new features in Lens and AR in Google Search help you learn, shop, and discover the world in new ways. Many of us are dealing with the challenges of learning from home, and with Lens, you can now get step-by-step homework help on math, chemistry, biology and physics problems. Social distancing has also dramatically changed how we shop, so we’re making it easier to visually shop for what you’re looking for online, whether you’re looking for a sweater or want a closer look at a new car but can’t visit a showroom.

If you don’t know how to search it, sing it

We’ve all had that experience of having a tune stuck in our head, but can’t quite remember the lyrics. Now, when those moments arise, you just have to hum to search, and our AI models can match the melody to the right song. 

What sets Google Search apart

There has never been more choice in the ways people access information, and we need to constantly develop cutting-edge technology to ensure that Google remains the most useful and most trusted way to search. Four key elements form the foundation for all our work to improve Search and answer trillions of queries every year. These elements are what makes Google helpful and reliable for the people who come to us each day to find information.


Understanding all the world’s information

We’re focused on deeply understanding all the world’s information, whether that information is contained in words on web pages, in images or videos, or even in the places and objects around us. With investments in AI, we’re able to analyze and understand all types of information in the world, just as we did by indexing web pages 22 years ago. We’re pushing the boundaries of what it means to understand the world, so before you even type in a query, we’re ready to help you explore new forms of information and insights never before available. 


The highest quality information 

People rely on Search for the highest quality information available, and our commitment to quality has always been what set Google apart from day one. Every year we launch thousands of improvements to make Search better, and rigorously test each of these changes to ensure people find them helpful. Our ranking factors and policies are applied fairly to all websites, and this has led to widespread access to a diversity of information, ideas and viewpoints.


World class privacy and security

To keep people and their data safe, we invest in world class privacy and security. We’ve led the industry in keeping you safe while searching with Safe Browsing and spam protection. We believe that privacy is a universal right and are committed to giving every user the tools they need to be in control.


Open access for everyone

Last—but certainly not least—we are committed to open access for everyone. We aim to help the open web thrive, sending more traffic to the open web every year since Google was created. Google is free for everyone, accessible on any device, in more than 150 languages around the world, and we continue to expand our ability to serve people everywhere.


So wherever you are, whatever you’re looking for, however you’re able to sing, spell, say, or visualize it, you can search on with Google.


Posted by Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior Vice President, Search & Assistant, Geo, Ads, Commerce, Payments & NBU


Song stuck in your head? Just hum to search

Do you know that song that goes, “da daaaa da da daaaa na naa naa ooohh yeah”? Or the one that starts with the guitar chords going, “da na na naa”? We all know how frustrating it is when you can’t remember the name of a song or any of the words but the tune is stuck in your head. Today at Search On, we announced that Google can now help you figure it out—no lyrics, artist name or perfect pitch required. 


Hum to search for your earworm

Starting today, you can hum, whistle or sing a melody to Google to solve your earworm. On your mobile device, open the latest version of the Google app or find your Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say “what's this song?” or click the “Search a song” button. Then start humming for 10-15 seconds. On Google Assistant, it’s just as simple. Say “Hey Google, what’s this song?” and then hum the tune. This feature is currently available in English on iOS, and in more than 20 languages on Android. And we hope to expand this to more languages in the future.

After you’re finished humming, our machine learning algorithm helps identify potential song matches. And don’t worry, you don’t need perfect pitch to use this feature. We’ll show you the most likely options based on the tune. Then you can select the best match and explore information on the song and artist, view any accompanying music videos or listen to the song on your favorite music app, find the lyrics, read analysis and even check out other recordings of the song when available. 

Hum to Search

How machines learn melodies 

So how does it work? An easy way to explain it is that a song’s melody is like its fingerprint: They each have their own unique identity. We've built machine learning models that can match your hum, whistle or singing to the right “fingerprint.”

When you hum a melody into Search, our machine learning models transform the audio into a number-based sequence representing the song’s melody. Our models are trained to identify songs based on a variety of sources, including humans singing, whistling or humming, as well as studio recordings. The algorithms also take away all the other details, like accompanying instruments and the voice's timbre and tone. What we’re left with is the song’s number-based sequence, or the fingerprint.

We compare these sequences to thousands of songs from around the world and identify potential  matches in real time. For example, if you listen to Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey,” you’ll recognize the song whether it was sung, whistled, or hummed. Similarly, our machine learning models recognize the melody of the studio-recorded version of the song, which we can use to match it with a person’s hummed audio. 

This builds on the work of our AI Research team’s music recognition technology. We launched Now Playing on the Pixel 2 in 2017, using deep neural networks to bring low-power recognition of music to mobile devices. In 2018, we brought the same technology to the SoundSearch feature in the Google app and expanded the reach to a catalog of millions of songs. This new experience takes it a step further, because now we can recognize songs without the lyrics or original song. All we need is a hum.

Hum to Search technology

So next time you can’t remember the name of some catchy song you heard on the radio or that classic jam your parents love, just start humming. You’ll have your answer in record time. 

Source: Search


How AI is powering a more helpful Google

When I first came across the web as a computer scientist in the mid-90s, I was struck by the sheer volume of information online, in contrast with how hard it was to find what you were looking for. It was then that I first started thinking about search, and I’ve been fascinated by the problem ever since. 


We’ve made tremendous progress over the past 22 years, making Google Search work better for you every day. With recent advancements in AI, we’re making bigger leaps forward in improvements to Google than we’ve seen over the last decade, so it’s even easier for you to find just what you’re looking for. Today during our Search On livestream, we shared how we're bringing the most advanced AI into our products to further our mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Helping you find exactly what you’re
looking for

At the heart of Google Search is our ability to understand your query and rank relevant results for that query. We’ve invested deeply in language understanding research, and last year we introduced how BERT language understanding systems are helping to deliver more relevant results in Google Search. Today we’re excited to share that BERT is now used in almost every query in English, helping you get higher quality results for your questions. We’re also sharing several new advancements to search ranking, made possible through our latest research in AI: 


Spelling
We’ve continued to improve our ability to understand misspelled words, and for good reason—one in 10 queries every day are misspelled. Today, we’re introducing a new spelling algorithm that uses a deep neural net to significantly improve our ability to decipher misspellings. In fact, this single change makes a greater improvement to spelling than all of our improvements over the last five years.

Spelling

A new spelling algorithm helps us understand the context of misspelled words, so we can help you find the right results, all in under 3 milliseconds.

Passages
Very specific searches can be the hardest to get right, since sometimes the single sentence that answers your question might be buried deep in a web page. We’ve recently made a breakthrough in ranking and are now able to not just index web pages, but individual passages from the pages. By better understanding the relevancy of specific passages, not just the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for. This technology will improve 7 percent of search queries across all languages as we roll it out globally.

Understanding Passages

With new passage understanding capabilities, Google can understand that the specific passage (R) is a lot more relevant to a specific query than a broader page on that topic (L).

Subtopics
We’ve applied neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad. As an example, if you search for “home exercise equipment,” we can now understand relevant subtopics, such as budget equipment, premium picks, or small space ideas, and show a wider range of content for you on the search results page. We’ll start rolling this out by the end of this year.

Topic Understanding

Access to high quality information during COVID-19

We’re making several new improvements to help you navigate your world and get things done more safely and efficiently. Live busyness updates show you how busy a place is right now so you can more easily social distance, and we’ve added a new feature to Live View to help you get essential information about a business before you even step inside. We’re also adding COVID-19 safety information front and center on Business Profiles across Google Search and Maps. This will help you know if a business requires you to wear a mask, if you need to make an advance reservation, or if the staff is taking extra safety precautions, like temperature checks. And we’ve used our Duplex conversational technology to help local businesses keep their information up-to-date online, such as opening hours and store inventory.


Understanding key moments in videos

Using a new AI-driven approach, we’re now able to understand the deep semantics of a video and automatically identify key moments. This lets us tag those moments in the video, so you can navigate them like chapters in a book. Whether you’re looking for that one step in a recipe tutorial, or the game-winning home run in a highlights reel, you can easily find those moments. We’ve started testing this technology this year, and by the end of 2020 we expect that 10 percent of searches on Google will use this new technology.
Key Moments - Baseball

Deepening understanding through data

Sometimes the best search result is a statistic. But often stats are buried in large datasets and not easily comprehensible or accessible online. Since 2018, we’ve been working on the Data Commons Project, an open knowledge database of statistical data started in collaboration with the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, World Bank and many others. Bringing these datasets together was a first step, and now we’re making this information more accessible and useful through Google Search.


Now when you ask a question like “how many people work in Chicago ,” we use natural language processing to map your search to one specific set of the billions of data points in Data Commons to provide the right stat in a visual, easy to understand format. You’ll also find other relevant data points and context—like stats for other cities—to help you easily explore the topic in more depth.
Data Commons

Helping quality journalism through advanced search

Quality journalism often comes from long-term investigative projects, requiring time consuming work sifting through giant collections of documents, images and audio recordings. As part of Journalist Studio, our new suite of tools to help reporters do their work more efficiently, securely, and creatively through technology, we’re launching Pinpoint, a new tool that brings the power of Google Search to journalists. Pinpoint helps reporters quickly sift through hundreds of thousands of documents by automatically identifying and organizing the most frequently mentioned people, organizations and locations. Reporters can sign up to request access to Pinpoint starting this week.

Search what you see, and explore
information in 3D

For many topics, seeing is key to understanding. Several new features in Lens and AR in Google Search help you learn, shop, and discover the world in new ways. Many of us are dealing with the challenges of learning from home, and with Lens, you can now get step-by-step homework help on math, chemistry, biology and physics problems. Social distancing has also dramatically changed how we shop, so we’re making it easier to visually shop for what you’re looking for online, whether you’re looking for a sweater or want a closer look at a new car but can’t visit a showroom.
 

If you don’t know how to search it, sing it

We’ve all had that experience of having a tune stuck in our head, but can’t quite remember the lyrics. Now, when those moments arise, you just have to hum to search, and our AI models can match the melody to the right song.
 

What sets Google Search apart

There has never been more choice in the ways people access information, and we need to constantly develop cutting-edge technology to ensure that Google remains the most useful and most trusted way to search. Four key elements form the foundation for all our work to improve Search and answer trillions of queries every year. These elements are what makes Google helpful and reliable for the people who come to us each day to find information.


Understanding all the world’s information
We’re focused on deeply understanding all the world’s information, whether that information is contained in words on web pages, in images or videos, or even in the places and objects around us. With investments in AI, we’re able to analyze and understand all types of information in the world, just as we did by indexing web pages 22 years ago. We’re pushing the boundaries of what it means to understand the world, so before you even type in a query, we’re ready to help you explore new forms of information and insights never before available. 


The highest quality information 
People rely on Search for the highest quality information available, and our commitment to quality has always been what set Google apart from day one. Every year we launch thousands of improvements to make Search better, and rigorously test each of these changes to ensure people find them helpful. Our ranking factors and policies are applied fairly to all websites, and this has led to widespread access to a diversity of information, ideas and viewpoints.


World class privacy and security
To keep people and their data safe, we invest in world class privacy and security. We’ve led the industry in keeping you safe while searching with Safe Browsing and spam protection. We believe that privacy is a universal right and are committed to giving every user the tools they need to be in control.


Open access for everyone
Last—but certainly not least—we are committed to open access for everyone. We aim to help the open web thrive, sending more traffic to the open web every year since Google was created. Google is free for everyone, accessible on any device, in more than 150 languages around the world, and we continue to expand our ability to serve people everywhere.

So wherever you are, whatever you’re looking for, however you’re able to sing, spell, say, or visualize it, you can search on with Google.


Source: Search


Visual ways to search and understand our world

Whether you’re a student learning about photosynthesis or a parent researching the best cars for your growing family, people turn to Google with all sorts of curiosities. And we can help you understand in different ways—through text, your voice or even your phone’s camera. Today, as part of the SearchOn event, we’re announcing new ways you can use Google Lens and augmented reality (AR) while learning and shopping.

Visual tools to help you learn 

For many families, adjusting to remote learning hasn’t been easy, but tools like Google Lens can help lighten the load. With Lens, you can search what you see using your camera. Lens can now recognize 15 billion things—up from 1 billion just two years ago—to help you identify plants, animals, landmarks and more. If you’re learning a new language, Lens can also translate more than 100 languages, such as Spanish and Arabic, and you can tap to hear words and sentences pronounced out loud


If you’re a parent, your kids may ask you questions about things you never thought you’d need to remember, like quadratic equations. From the search bar in the Google app on Android and iOS, you can use Lens to get help on a homework problem. With step-by-step guides and videos, you can learn and understand the foundational concepts to solve math, chemistry, biology and physics problems.

Lens Homework

Sometimes, seeing is understanding. For instance, visualizing the inner workings of a plant cell or the elements in the periodic table in 3D is more helpful than reading about them in a textbook. AR brings hands-on learning home, letting you explore concepts up close in your space. Here’s how Melissa Brophy-Plasencio, an educator from Texas, is incorporating AR into her lesson plans.

Melissa Brophy-Plasencio, an educator from Texas, shares how she's using AR into her science lessons.

Shop what you see with Google Lens 

Another area where the camera can be helpful is shopping—especially when what you’re looking for is hard to describe in words. With Lens, you can already search for a product by taking a photo or screenshot. Now, we’re making it even easier to discover new products as you browse online on your phone. When you tap and hold an image on the Google app or Chrome on Android, Lens will find the exact or similar items, and suggest ways to style it. This feature is coming soon to the Google app on iOS.

Lens Shopping

Lens uses Style Engine technology which combines the world’s largest database of products with millions of style images. Then, it pattern matches to understand concepts like “ruffle sleeves” or “vintage denim” and how they pair with different apparel. 

Bring the showroom to you with AR

When you can’t go into stores to check out a product up close, AR can bring the showroom to you. If you’re in the market for a new car, for example, you’ll soon be able to search for it on Google and see an AR model right in front of you. You can easily check out what the car looks like in different colors, zoom in to see intricate details like buttons on the dashboard, view it against beautiful backdrops and even see it in your driveway. We’re experimenting with this feature in the U.S. and working with top auto brands, such as Volvo and Porsche, to bring these experiences to you soon.

ColorSwaps_Volvo_560_sq.gif

AR experience of the 2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Everyone’s journey to understand is different. Whether you snap a photo with Lens or immerse yourself in AR, we hope you find what you’re looking for...

Ladybug.gif

...and even have some fun along the way.

Source: Search


How Google autocomplete predictions are generated

You come to Google with an idea of what you’d like to search for. As soon as you start typing, predictions appear in the search box to help you finish what you’re typing. These time-saving predictions are from a feature called Autocomplete, which we covered previously in this How Search Works series.


In this post, we’ll explore how Autocomplete’s predictions are automatically generated based on real searches and how this feature helps you finish typing the query you already had in mind. We’ll also look at why not all predictions are helpful, and what we do in those cases.


Where predictions come from

Autocomplete predictions reflect searches that have been done on Google. To determine what predictions to show, our systems begin by looking at common and trending queries that match what someone starts to enter into the search box. For instance, if you were to type in “best star trek…”, we’d look for the common completions that would follow, such as “best star trek series” or “best star trek episodes.”


Autocomplete star trek

That’s how predictions work at the most basic level. However, there’s much more involved. We don’t just show the most common predictions overall. We also consider things like the language of the searcher or where they are searching from, because these make predictions far more relevant. 


Below, you can see predictions for those searching for “driving test” in the U.S. state of California versus the Canadian province of Ontario. Predictions differ in naming relevant locations or even spelling “centre” correctly for Canadians rather than using the American spelling of “center.”


Autocomplete driving test

To provide better predictions for long queries, our systems may automatically shift from predicting an entire search to portions of a search. For example, we might not see a lot of queries for “the name of the thing at the front” of some particular object. But we do see a lot of queries for “the front of a ship” or “the front of a boat” or “the front of a car.” That’s why we’re able to offer these predictions toward the end of what someone is typing.


Autocomplete name of a thing

We also take freshness into account when displaying predictions. If our automated systems detect there’s rising interest in a topic, they might show a trending prediction even if it isn’t typically the most common of all related predictions that we know about. For example, searches for a basketball team are probably more common than individual games. However, if that team just won a big face-off against a rival, timely game-related predictions may be more useful for those seeking information that’s relevant in that moment.


Predictions also will vary, of course, depending on the specific topic that someone is searching for. People, places and things all have different attributes that people are interested in. For example, someone searching for “trip to New York” might see a prediction of “trip to New York for Christmas,” as that’s a popular time to visit that city. In contrast, “trip to San Francisco” may show a prediction of “trip to San Francisco and Yosemite.” Even if two topics seem to be similar or fall into similar categories, you won’t always see the same predictions if you try to compare them.  Predictions will reflect the queries that are unique and relevant to a particular topic.


Overall, Autocomplete is a complex time-saving feature that’s not simply displaying the most common queries on a given topic. That’s also why it differs from and shouldn’t be compared against Google Trends, which is a tool for journalists and anyone else who’s interested to research the popularity of searches and search topics over time.


Predictions you likely won’t see

Predictions, as explained, are meant to be helpful ways for you to more quickly finish completing something you were about to type. But like anything, predictions aren’t perfect. There’s the potential to show unexpected or shocking predictions. It’s also possible that people might take predictions as assertions of facts or opinions. We also recognize that some queries are less likely to lead to reliable content.


We deal with these potential issues in two ways. First and foremost, we have systems designed to prevent potentially unhelpful and policy-violating predictions from appearing. Secondly, if  our automated systems don’t catch predictions that violate our policies, we have enforcement teams that remove predictions in accordance with those policies.


Our systems are designed to recognize terms and phrases that might be violent, sexually-explicit, hateful, disparaging or dangerous. When we recognize that such content might surface in a particular prediction, our systems prevent it from displaying. 


People can still search for such topics using those words, of course. Nothing prevents that. We’re simply not wanting to unintentionally shock or surprise people with predictions they might not have expected.


Using our automated systems, we can also recognize if a prediction is unlikely to return much reliable content. For example, after a major news event, there can be any number of unconfirmed rumors or information spreading, which we would not want people to think Autocomplete is somehow confirming. In these cases, our systems identify if there’s likely to be reliable content on a particular topic for a particular search. If that likelihood is low, the systems might automatically prevent a prediction from appearing. But again, this doesn’t stop anyone from completing a search on their own, if they wish.


While our automated systems typically work very well, they don’t catch everything. This is why we have policies for Autocomplete, which we publish for anyone to read. Our systems aim to prevent policy-violating predictions from appearing. But if any such predictions do get past our systems, and we’re made aware (such as through public reporting options), our enforcement teams work to review and remove them, as appropriate. In these cases, we remove both the specific prediction in question and often use pattern-matching and other methods to catch closely-related variations.


As an example of all this in action, consider our policy about names in Autocomplete, which began in 2016. It’s designed to prevent showing offensive, hurtful or inappropriate queries in relation to named individuals, so that people aren’t potentially forming an impression about others solely off predictions.  We have systems that aim to prevent these types of predictions from showing for name queries. But if violations do get through, we remove them in line with our policies. 


You can always search for what you want

Having discussed why some predictions might not appear, it’s also helpful to remember that predictions are not search results. Occasionally, people concerned about predictions for a particular query might suggest that we’re preventing actual search results from appearing. This is not the case. Autocomplete policies only apply to predictions. They do not apply to search results. 


We understand that our protective systems may prevent some useful predictions from showing. In fact, our systems take a particularly cautious approach when it comes to names and might prevent some non-policy violating predictions from appearing. However, we feel that taking this cautious approach is best. That’s especially because even if a prediction doesn’t appear, this does not impact the ability for someone to finish typing a query on their own and finding search results. 


We hope this has helped you understand more about how we generate predictions that allow you to more quickly complete the query you started, whether that’s while typing on your laptop or swiping the on-screen keyboard on your phone.


If you’ve got it, haunt it: Halloween 2020 costume trends

This year’s Frightgeist is a real treat. From cats in taco costumes and baby sharks to Supergirl and fun flamingos, we just couldn’t wait until Oct. 31 to start the festivities.

No matter how you’re celebrating this year, Halloween is the perfect reason to ditch the quarantine couture and get dressed up in some spook-tacular attire. To give you some ideas as holiday prep begins, we took a look at what costumes were trending last month in the United States.

Your favorite frightful fashions

This September’s trending Halloween costumes are action-packed: Martial arts gurus and dungeon masters take the lead, followed by Jedis and cowgirls that are out of this world—literally. 

  1. Cobra Kai

  2. Dungeon Master 

  3. The Mandalorian 

  4. Space Cowgirl 

  5. Trolls 

  6. Belle 

  7. Marshmello 

  8. Inflatable shark 

  9. Firefighter

  10. Sanderson sisters 


Cool costumes for kids

Which witch will be the go-to Halloween costume for kids this year? Three of the top 10 trending costumes for kids last month are famous witches. But if that’s not your thing, bats and werewolves are two fright-astic options. 

  1. Supergirl 

  2. Flamingo 

  3. Hocus Pocus 

  4. Witch 

  5. Glinda 

  6. Robot 

  7. Maui

  8. Bat 

  9. Sally 

  10. Werewolf 

We also took a look at the most-searched costumes across the U.S. in September, including costumes for couples, babies and pets. 


Thinking of coupling up?

Several classic couples kept their spots in 2020: Bonnie and Clyde, Lilo and Stitch as well as The Fairly Oddparents’ Cosmo and Wanda are the top three most-searched couples costumes for the second year in a row. If you want to change it up, options like  “Lydia and Beetlejuice” or “Coraline and Wybie” are new to the list.  

  1. Bonnie and Clyde

  2. Lilo and Stitch

  3. Cosmo and Wanda

  4. Coraline and Wybie

  5. Lydia and Beetlejuice

  6. Mario and Luigi

  7. Woody and Jessie

  8. Angel and Devil

  9. Phineas and Ferb

  10. Sharkboy and Lavagirl


Put your pets on parade 

What’s cuter than a cat wrapped in taco or a Corgi dressed as a dinosaur? Last month’s most-searched pet costumes will definitely have our pets earning some treats this Halloween—no tricks required.

  1. Cat taco 

  2. Corgi stegosaurus 

  3. Twinkie 

  4. Beetlejuice 

  5. Fish 

  6. Woody dog 

  7. Chucky

  8. Frog 

  9. Pumpkin 

  10. Raccoon 


Babies can say “boo!,” too

Lions, tigers, and baby sharks—oh my! Baby animals could make the perfect costume for little ones this Halloween. 

  1. Baby shark 

  2. Baby Yoda

  3. Baby pumpkin 

  4. Boss baby 

  5. Baby dinosaur 

  6. Baby Olaf 

  7. Baby chicken 

  8. Baby tiger 

  9. Baby bat 

  10. Baby lion 

For more of what people are searching in your city and around the country, check out our interactive Frightgeist map. Witch-ing you a Happy Halloween!