Tag Archives: Search

Now it’s easier to show what your business offers on Google

When people search for your business on Google, it’s important to show up-to-date information and the details that make your business stand out — like what services you offer and when you're open. That’s why we’re constantly building tools that make it easier for you to update how your business appears to potential customers on Google Search and Maps. 


Last year, we added ways for you to change basic business information, message your customers and see detailed insights. And now, as we head into International Small Business Week, we have even more ways for you to update your Business Profile — all directly from Search and Maps. You can add details, such as contact information and opening hours, and create Posts to share updates, like special offers or new offerings, right from Google Search. Starting next week, you’ll also be able to create Posts about upcoming events including when and where they’re happening — whether you’re throwing a reopening party or hosting an online tasting.
GIF of a Post being created from Google Search

You can now create Posts directly from Google Search

Here are the newest ways you can use Search or Maps to share information about your business on Google. To make these updates to your Business Profile, start by logging into the Google account associated with your business. From there you can type the name of your business or ‘my business’ into Google Search or tap your profile picture followed by ‘Your Business Profile’ on Google Maps.

Show customers the services you offer

If your business offers local services — such as construction, auto repair or hair styling — you can now use the ‘Edit profile’ menu on Search to easily update the services you offer and, if applicable, the local areas you service. For beauty and personal care businesses, show off your specialties like eyelash extensions, box braids, curly hair, balayage, dreadlocks or beard trims.

Image of a phone showing services offered by a plumber and electrician

 Easily show customers what services you offer from the menu in Search

For those who have a service or restaurant business and work with one of our Reserve with Google partners, you can now enable online bookings through your Business Profile — right from Google Search. Once you’ve signed up with a Reserve with Google partner, you’ll see how many bookings customers have made with your business directly on Google.

Accept takeout and delivery orders

Food ordering on Google has increased more than 230% since last year thanks to a boost in demand (who else is tired of doing dishes?) and new restaurant partners. To help handle the demand, Order with Google lets food businesses accept orders for takeout and delivery directly through their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps. This makes it easier for you to reach new customers and turn searches on Google into orders.


In the coming weeks, you’ll also be able to add and update online ordering options directly from Google Search. Once enabled, you can indicate your ordering preferences for takeout and delivery to let customers know what works best for you. 


To help your restaurant stand out on Google, we’ve added easier ways to share your menu. You can now add menu items to your Business Profile on Search and Maps. Simply add and edit your entire menu or featured dishes via the ‘Edit profile’ menu on Search. These new entry points help food businesses update their info and interact with customers right from the apps they already use — Search and Maps.
Image of desktop screen and phone screen showing the latest merchant menu for food businesses

Accept food orders and update your menu to connect with customers on Google

Help customers find the products you sell

Shoppers are increasingly looking for products online before they head to the store. In fact, Google Searches for “who has” + “in stock” have grown by more than 8,000% year over year. In addition to being able to manually add product information to your Business Profile via Search and Maps, eligible retailers in the U.S. can get all their in-store product inventory automatically added to their Business Profile by signing up for Pointy from Google right from Google Search.

Image of desktop screen and phone screen showing Pointy from Google

Help customers find the products you sell in-store with Pointy

Pointy removes the work of manually entering product details, which can be especially hard if you sell a lot of products. As you scan items being sold in your store, the products are automatically added to your Business Profile so that potential customers can see what’s currently in stock. Eligible retailers can now get Pointy for free through September 30.*

Keep an eye out for more

We want to help businesses stand out and reach new customers on Google. We’re continuing to find new ways that make it as easy as possible to update your Google presence. Later this summer, business owners who've started their onboarding journey but aren't yet verified will get a taste of this experience too and will be able to complete their verification journey on Search and Maps. Keep an eye out for more details in the coming months!  

*Pointy Box supplies are limited and shipping may be delayed. Offer excludes ads.


Build sophisticated search features with AppSearch

Posted by Dan Saadati, Software Engineer, and Hanaa ElAzizi, Technical Program Manager

Introducing AppSearch in Jetpack, now available in Alpha. AppSearch is an on-device search library which provides high performance and feature-rich full-text search functionality.

With AppSearch, your application can:

  • Offer offline search capabilities as AppSearch data lives completely on-device.
  • Have lower latency for indexing and querying over large data sets compared to SQLite, due to lower I/O use.
  • Provide relevant search results with built-in scoring strategies, such as BM25F.
  • Provide multi-language support for text search.
  • Issue a single query to retrieve data of multiple data types compared to issuing one query per data type in SQLite.

In AppSearch, you need to create a database to manage structured data, called “documents”. You then define what the structure looks like using “schema types”. For instance, you can model a message as a schema type with properties such as subject, body, and sender.

Documents that are added to your database can be queried over. Querying for “body:fruit” will retrieve all documents with the term “fruit” in the “body” of the Message.

Diagram illustrating the indexing of grocery list items in AppSearch, and searching for those items later

Diagram illustrating indexing and searching within AppSearch

To showcase how an application might integrate AppSearch, take this example of a grocery list application. Users can add grocery items to their list to refer to when they’re out shopping. Since AppSearch offers multi-language support by default, users can also include specialty ingredients for their global recipes. Users add an item by typing in the name and selecting the store and category it belongs to. The user can search by item name and select filters for store or category. AppSearch will return matching results for the application to display.

Ready to dive into using AppSearch to enrich your app’s search functionality? Check out the AppSearch guide and start using it in your app.

Help us make the library better: give us feedback on things you like, and issues or features you would like to see. If you find a bug or issue, feel free to file an issue.

Improving Search to better protect people from harassment

Over the past two decades of building Google Search, we’ve continued to improve and refine our ability to provide the highest quality results for the billions of queries we see every day. Our core principles guide every improvement, as we constantly update Search to work better for you. One area we’d like to shed more light on is how we balance maximizing access to information with the responsibility to protect people from online harassment.


We design our ranking systems to surface high quality results for as many queries as possible, but some types of queries are more susceptible to bad actors and require specialized solutions. One such example is websites that employ exploitative removals practices. These are sites that require payment to remove content, and since 2018 we’ve had a policy that enables people to request removal of pages with information about them from our results. 


Beyond removing these pages from appearing in Google Search, we also used these removals as a demotion signal in Search, so that sites that have these exploitative practices rank lower in results. This solution leads the industry, and is effective in helping people who are victims of harassment from these sites. 


However, we found that there are some extraordinary cases of repeated harassment. The New York Times highlighted one such case, and shed light on some limitations of our approach.


To help people who are dealing with extraordinary cases of repeated harassment, we’re implementing an improvement to our approach to further protect known victims. Now, once someone has requested a removal from one site with predatory practices, we will automatically apply ranking protections to help prevent content from other similar low quality sites appearing in search results for people’s names. We’re also looking to expand these protections further, as part of our ongoing work in this space.


This change was inspired by a similar approach we’ve taken with victims of non-consensual explicit content, commonly known as revenge porn. While no solution is perfect, our evaluations show that these changes meaningfully improve the quality of our results.


Over the years of building Search, our approach has remained consistent: We take examples of queries where we’re not doing the best job in providing high quality results, and look for ways to make improvements to our algorithms. In this way, we don’t “fix” individual queries, since they’re often a symptom of a class of problems that affect many different queries. Our ability to address issues continues to lead the industry, and we’ve deployed advanced technology, tools and quality signals over the last two decades, making Search work better every day.


Search is never a solved problem, and there are always new challenges we face as the web and the world change. We’re committed to listening to feedback and looking for ways to improve the quality of our results.


Source: Search


Catch all the big plays with sports web stories

Aren’t able to catch the game and watch your favorite team live? We've all been there before. But now, when you come to Google looking for the latest updates on your favorite team or game scores from around the league, with Google Web Stories you can also instantly catch up on the big moments and in-game action you might have missed. And with the start of UEFA EURO 2020 just around the corner, football fans in countries across Europe, Africa and Asia can also get in on the action — just search for your team or the name of the tournament. 


Web Stories is an online tappable storybook curated with videos, GIFs and images, bringing you real-time, in-game sports highlights easily accessible from Google Search. Through collaborations with sports leagues and broadcasters from around the world, you can quickly catch up on what you have missed, or re-watch key plays in just a few taps.  You can already find these Web Stories for some of the world’s most popular sports leagues including baseball, basketball, cricket, golf, hockey and now football. With the addition of more leagues and broadcasters in the coming months, soon you’ll have access to even more great sports content.


Screen recording of someone viewing an MLB Web Story through Search

Major League Baseball was one of the earliest adopters of Web Stories, launching in time for the 2019 Postseason and expanding ever since. This season, MLB Game Stories are available globally for every game, in both English and Spanish. Fans in different countries can now catch up on baseball highlights from their devices within one to two minutes of the play happening on the field. The end result: fans are connected to the information they’re looking for through unparalleled access to real-time content and our partners expand their reach -- talk about a home run! 

Screenshot of a MLB Web Story in Spanish

MLB Web Stories are available in Spanish too!

We are excited to be rolling this feature across select countries for UEFA EURO 2020 and can't wait to continue to expand. So whether you want to see every game-defining play that led to your team’s win, or begrudgingly try to understand how your team could have possibly lost to their biggest rivals, Web Stories can connect you to all the action on Search.

Source: Search


New tools to support vaccine access and distribution

While over half of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, vaccine uptake is slowing across the country. Research shows a variety of factors are preventing people from getting vaccinated — from physical access issues, like transportation challenges and not being able to take time off work, to concerns about safety and side effects. 

To help public health officials and researchers in the U.S. reach people facing these challenges, we’re introducing new tools to better understand the vaccination needs of a community. This builds on our work of providing data, insights and tools to public health, epidemiologists, researchers and policymakers since the early days of the pandemic. 

Equitable access to vaccinations 

For some people getting vaccinated is as simple as walking a few blocks to their local pharmacy. For others, it may be much more difficult and involve a long drive or navigating public transit. If public health officials, researchers and healthcare providers can identify areas where vaccination sites are inaccessible or hard to reach, they may be able to implement measures like pop-up vaccine sites or transportation support like ride vouchers.  

Our COVID-19 Vaccination Access Dataset, which is available to the public today, calculates travel time to vaccination sites to identify areas where it may be difficult to reach a site whether someone is walking, driving or taking public transportation. We prepared this dataset using Google Maps Platform Directions API, the same API that powers navigation in Google Maps. This dataset does not contain any user data.

This dataset will help power a new Vaccine Equity Plannerdashboard from Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and  Boston Children’s Hospital, the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. . This dashboard integrates our dataset with data from other organizations, such as the CDC’s social vulnerability index, to identify “vaccine deserts,” or areas where people have little or no convenient access to a vaccine site, to inform interventions such as pop-up clinics or new sites. 

Vaccine Equity Planner dashboard for New York and Mississippi

Vaccine Equity Planner dashboard for New York and Mississippi.   

Understanding vaccine information needs 

Public health organizations have been the go-to sources for authoritative information throughout the pandemic, and have provided educational campaigns about the safety, efficacy and availability of vaccines. We’ve heard from public health organizations and researchers that they want access to localized and timely data about what information their communities are seeking so they can tailor their communication to people not yet vaccinated. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce a COVID-19 Vaccination Search Insights tool to help public health officials and researchers explore vaccine-related concerns and the information needs of local communities. The tool will show trends representing the relative search interests across three search categories: all vaccine information, intent to get vaccinated (such as eligibility, availability and sites), and safety and side effects. Insights will be provided at the county and zip code level and updated weekly.  

The trends are based on aggregate and anonymized Google Search data so that no user information is included. The process to anonymize the COVID-19 Vaccination Search Insights is powered by differential privacy, a technique that adds noise to the data to provide privacy guarantees while preserving the overall quality of the data. The data can be compared across different regions and over time, without sharing the absolute number of queries in any given area. 

Both tools will initially be available in English and for the U.S. As we get more feedback from public health organizations, researchers, and the community at large, we’ll evaluate expanding these tools internationally.

With these insights, we hope that public health organizations and healthcare providers can more easily and effectively reach their communities. Google will continue to do its part by providing timely and accurate vaccine information and appointment availability to people in Search and supporting organizations focused on vaccine equity. 

Source: Search


The complete Google guide to summer 2021

The sun is shining, the days are getting longer and more and more U.S. cities are reopening — it’s official, summer 2021 is almost here. Right on time, vacation fever has hit: Google searches for “summer vacation” and “sunscreen” are seeing a major spike, and those are just a couple of the many interesting Google Trends we’ve been seeing. So we decided to collect some of this information to bring you Google’s Guide to Summer: You’ll find trending travel spots, must-eat-at restaurants and tips for finding the perfect summer gear. 

To find what places are turning into vacation destinations, we looked at places with the highest percentage growth in hotel searches, comparing April 2021 to April 2019. These 10 cities saw the biggest bump in interest: 

Infographic showing the top 10 trending vacation destinations.

If you’re planning a trip to one of these places, the next step is deciding where to eat while you’re there. Hidden Gem restaurants are verified restaurants on Google Maps with high ratings from fewer people — which could help you avoid crowds and get an amazing meal. Check out these Hidden Gems from each of the cities listed above: 

Infographic listing the top three hidden gem restaurants in each top tending vacation destination.

If you’re not ready to travel by plane, you’re not alone. Many people are looking into alternative transportation options or even local options, such as… 

  • 🚌Glamour-BUS travels:In the U.S., there are over 60% more RV-related searches on Google Maps than there were a year ago. The metro areas most interested were Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Denver. 

  • 🏖️ Beachy keen:As the weather heats up, U.S. Maps searches for “beaches” are up over 40% compared to May 2020, and searches for "parks" are up over 50%. 

  • 🏕Happy campers: Camping-related searches on Maps are trending up nearly 90% compared to this time last year. The top five areas interested in camping are Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Denver and Seattle.

  • 🚲 Tourists on tires: People are using Google Maps for cycling directions 44% more than they were in 2020. According to our cycling direction data, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. are the cities with the most cyclists. 

Infographic showing the top airline alternative forms of travel.

Whether you hit the road (or skies) or stay put, you’ll want to grab the right gear. Try these Google Shopping power tips to find whatever you need for summer:

  • Check if you’re getting a “good” price on that retro cooler: On a Shopping product page, you’ll see a price bar showing whether the price you’re seeing for that product is high, low or typical, compared to current prices from across the web and in nearby stores.

  • See if an inflatable pool (or whatever else) is in stock at local stores:With Google Shopping, you can search for a product, like inflatable pools, and apply the “Nearby” filter (or include “near me” in your search) to show results from local retailers on a helpful map display, along with an indication of whether the product is in-stock. 

Image showing a popsicle floatie floating in a pool.
  • Compare prices and shipping options for a summer koozie:Once you’ve found your favorite koozie, scroll down on the product page and tap “Compare prices” to see all of the prices and shipping options from online and local retailers for that product. You’ll also see whether a retailer offers curbside pickup and/or the option to buy online/pickup in store.

  • Use filters to find the perfect sunscreen (or other beauty products):On Google Shopping you can easily use filters to find the type of product you’re looking for. When you search “sunscreen” you can simply scroll down and on the left hand side you’ll find rating filters under “Product Rating” such as four stars and above.

  • Get summer picnic or beach ideas and see product availability on Google:Google Images is a great place to find summer inspo. You can see availability information so you know if the item you're looking for is actually in stock. You can even use Lens to find that retro beach towel or picnic blanket your friend or your favorite celeb has. Once you find it, Google will give you options for how to buy it.

Consider yourself set for the summer!

Source: Google LatLong


The complete Google guide to summer 2021

The sun is shining, the days are getting longer and more and more U.S. cities are reopening — it’s official, summer 2021 is almost here. Right on time, vacation fever has hit: Google searches for “summer vacation” and “sunscreen” are seeing a major spike, and those are just a couple of the many interesting Google Trends we’ve been seeing. So we decided to collect some of this information to bring you Google’s Guide to Summer: You’ll find trending travel spots, must-eat-at restaurants and tips for finding the perfect summer gear. 

To find what places are turning into vacation destinations, we looked at places with the highest percentage growth in hotel searches, comparing April 2021 to April 2019. These 10 cities saw the biggest bump in interest: 

Infographic showing the top 10 trending vacation destinations.

If you’re planning a trip to one of these places, the next step is deciding where to eat while you’re there. Hidden Gem restaurants are verified restaurants on Google Maps with high ratings from fewer people — which could help you avoid crowds and get an amazing meal. Check out these Hidden Gems from each of the cities listed above: 

Infographic listing the top three hidden gem restaurants in each top tending vacation destination.

If you’re not ready to travel by plane, you’re not alone. Many people are looking into alternative transportation options or even local options, such as… 

  • 🚌Glamour-BUS travels:In the U.S., there are over 60% more RV-related searches on Google Maps than there were a year ago. The metro areas most interested were Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Denver. 

  • 🏖️ Beachy keen:As the weather heats up, U.S. Maps searches for “beaches” are up over 40% compared to May 2020, and searches for "parks" are up over 50%. 

  • 🏕Happy campers: Camping-related searches on Maps are trending up nearly 90% compared to this time last year. The top five areas interested in camping are Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Denver and Seattle.

  • 🚲 Tourists on tires: People are using Google Maps for cycling directions 44% more than they were in 2020. According to our cycling direction data, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. are the cities with the most cyclists. 

Infographic showing the top airline alternative forms of travel.

Whether you hit the road (or skies) or stay put, you’ll want to grab the right gear. Try these Google Shopping power tips to find whatever you need for summer:

  • Check if you’re getting a “good” price on that retro cooler: On a Shopping product page, you’ll see a price bar showing whether the price you’re seeing for that product is high, low or typical, compared to current prices from across the web and in nearby stores.

  • See if an inflatable pool (or whatever else) is in stock at local stores:With Google Shopping, you can search for a product, like inflatable pools, and apply the “Nearby” filter (or include “near me” in your search) to show results from local retailers on a helpful map display, along with an indication of whether the product is in-stock. 

Image showing a popsicle floatie floating in a pool.
  • Compare prices and shipping options for a summer koozie:Once you’ve found your favorite koozie, scroll down on the product page and tap “Compare prices” to see all of the prices and shipping options from online and local retailers for that product. You’ll also see whether a retailer offers curbside pickup and/or the option to buy online/pickup in store.

  • Use filters to find the perfect sunscreen (or other beauty products):On Google Shopping you can easily use filters to find the type of product you’re looking for. When you search “sunscreen” you can simply scroll down and on the left hand side you’ll find rating filters under “Product Rating” such as four stars and above.

  • Get summer picnic or beach ideas and see product availability on Google:Google Images is a great place to find summer inspo. You can see availability information so you know if the item you're looking for is actually in stock. You can even use Lens to find that retro beach towel or picnic blanket your friend or your favorite celeb has. Once you find it, Google will give you options for how to buy it.

Consider yourself set for the summer!

Source: Google LatLong


How we update Search to improve your results

Our computers, smartphones and apps are regularly updated to help make them better. The same thing happens with Google Search. In fact, Google Search is updated thousands of times a year to improve the experience and the quality of results. Here’s more on how that process works.


Why updates are important

Google Search receives billions of queries every day from countries around the world in 150 languages. Our automated systems identify the most relevant and reliable information from hundreds of billions of pages in our index to help people find what they’re looking for. Delivering great results at this type of scale and complexity requires many different systems, and we’re always looking for ways to improve these systems so we can display the most useful results possible.

Thanks to ongoing improvements, our evaluation processes show we’ve decreased the number of irrelevant results appearing on a search results page by over 40% over the past five years. Google sends billions of visits to websites each day, and by providing highly relevant results, we've been able to continue growing the traffic we send to sites every year since our founding.

We also send visitors to a wide range of sites — more than 100 million every day — so we’re helping sites from across the web and around the world get discovered. As new sites emerge and the web changes, continued updates are key to ensuring we’re supporting a wide range of publishers, creators and businesses, while providing searchers with the best information available.

How updates make Search better

Here are a few examples of what these updates look like:

Last month we launched an improvement we made to help people find better product reviews through Search. We have an automated system that tries to determine if a review  seems to go beyond just sharing basic information about a product and instead demonstrates in-depth research or expertise. This helps people find high quality information from the content producers who are making it.

Another example is an update we made several years ago that tries to determine if content is mobile-friendly. In situations where there are many possible matches with relatively equal relevancy, giving a preference to those that render better on mobile devices is more useful for users searching on those devices.

In any given week, we might implement dozens of updates that are meant to improve Search in incremental ways. These are improvements that have been fully tested and evaluated through our rating process. People using Search generally don’t notice these updates, but Google gets a little better with each one. Collectively, they add up to help Search continue providing great results.

Because there are so many incremental updates, it’s not useful for us to share details about all of them. However, we try to do so when we feel there is actionable information that site owners, content producers or others might consider applying, as was the case with both of the updates mentioned above.

Core updates involve broad improvements to Search

Periodically, we make more substantial improvements to our overall ranking processes. We refer to these as core updates, and they can produce some noticeable changes — though typically these are more often noticed by people actively running websites or performing search engine optimization (SEO) than ordinary users.

This is why we give notice when these kinds of updates are coming. We want site owners to understand these changes aren't because of something they've done but rather because of how our systems have been improved to better assess content overall and better address user expectations. We also want to remind them that nothing in a core update (or any update) is specific to a particular site, but is rather about improving Search overall. As we’ve said previously in our guidance about this:


There's nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven't violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there's nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.

One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine that in 2015 you made a list of the top 100 movies. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It's going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.

The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren't bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.

Core updates are designed to increase the overall relevancy of our search results. In terms of traffic we send, it’s largely a net exchange. Some content might do less well, but other content gains. In the long term, improving our systems in this way is how we’ve continued to improve Search and send more traffic to sites across the web every year.


How we help businesses and creators with guidance and tools 

While there’s nothing specific sites need to implement for core updates, we provide guidance and actionable advice that may help them be successful with Search overall. Following this guidance isn't a guarantee a site will rank well for every query it wants to. That’s not something Google or any other search engine could guarantee.

Any particular query can have thousands of pages or other content that's all relevant in some way. It’s impossible to show all this content at the top of our results. And that wouldn’t be useful for searchers, who come to Search precisely because they expect us to show the most helpful information first.

By following our core update guidance, businesses, site owners and content creators can help us better understand when they really have the most relevant and useful content to display. We also recommend sites follow our quality guidelines, implement our optimization tips and make use of the free Search Console tool that anyone can use.

These kinds of updates, along with the tools and advice we offer, are how we make sure we keep connecting searchers to content creators, businesses and others who have the helpful information they’re looking for.

Source: Search


Search, explore and shop the world’s information, powered by AI

AI advancements push the boundaries of what Google products can do. Nowhere is this clearer than at the core of our mission to make information more accessible and useful for everyone.

We've spent more than two decades developing not just a better understanding of information on the web, but a better understanding of the world. Because when we understand information, we can make it more helpful — whether you’re a remote student learning a complex new subject, a caregiver looking for trusted information on COVID vaccines or a parent searching for the best route home.

Deeper understanding with MUM

One of the hardest problems for search engines today is helping you with complex tasks — like planning what to do on a family outing. These often require multiple searches to get the information you need. In fact, we find that it takes people eight searches on average to complete complex tasks.

With a new technology called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, we're able to better understand much more complex questions and needs, so in the future, it will require fewer searches to get things done. Like BERT, MUM is built on a Transformer architecture, but it’s 1,000 times more powerful and can multitask in order to unlock information in new ways. MUM not only understands language, but also generates it. It’s trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models. And MUM is multimodal, so it understands information across text and images and in the future, can expand to more modalities like video and audio.

Imagine a question like: “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?” This would stump search engines today, but in the future, MUM could understand this complex task and generate a response, pointing to highly relevant results to dive deeper. We’ve already started internal pilots with MUM and are excited about its potential for improving Google products.

Information comes to life with Lens and AR

People come to Google to learn new things, and visuals can make all the difference. Google Lens lets you search what you see — from your camera, your photos or even your search bar. Today we’re seeing more than 3 billion searches with Lens every month, and an increasingly popular use case is learning. For example, many students might have schoolwork in a language they aren't very familiar with. That’s why we’re updating the Translate filter in Lens so it’s easy to copy, listen to or search translated text, helping students access education content from the web in over 100 languages.

Animated GIF showing Google Lens’s Translate filter applied to homework.

AR is also a powerful tool for visual learning. With the new AR athletes in Search, you can see signature moves from some of your favorite athletes in AR — like Simone Biles’s famous balance beam routine.

Animated GIF showing Simone Biles’s balance beam routine surfaced by the AR athletes in Search feature.

Evaluate information with About This Result 

Helpful information should be credible and reliable, and especially during moments like the pandemic or elections, people turn to Google for trustworthy information. 

Our ranking systems are designed to prioritize high-quality information, but we also help you evaluate the credibility of sources, right in Google Search. Our About This Result feature provides details about a website before you visit it, including its description, when it was first indexed and whether your connection to the site is secure. 

Animated GIF showing the About This Result features applied to the query "How to invest in ETFs."

This month, we’ll start rolling out About This Result to all English results worldwide, with more languages to come. Later this year, we’ll add even more detail, like how a site describes itself, what other sources are saying about it and related articles to check out. 

Exploring the real world with Maps

Google Maps transformed how people navigate, explore and get things done in the world — and we continue to push the boundaries of what a map can be with industry-first features like AR navigation in Live View at scale. We recently announced we’re on track to launch over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps by the end of year, and today, we’re introducing a few of the newest ones. Our new routing updates are designed to reduce the likelihood of hard-braking on your drive using machine learning and historical navigation information — which we believe could eliminate over 100 million hard-braking events in routes driven with Google Maps each year.

If you’re looking for things to do, our more tailored map will spotlight relevant places based on time of day and whether or not you’re traveling. Enhancements to Live View and detailed street maps will help you explore and get a deep understanding of an area as quickly as possible. And if you want to see how busy neighborhoods and parts of town are, you’ll be able to do this at a glance as soon as you open Maps.

More ways to shop with Google 

People are shopping across Google more than a billion times per day, and our AI-enhanced Shopping Graph — our deep understanding of products, sellers, brands, reviews, product information and inventory data — powers many features that help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Because shopping isn’t always a linear experience, we’re introducing new ways to explore and keep track of products. Now, when you take a screenshot, Google Photos will prompt you to search the photo with Lens, so you can immediately shop for that item if you want. And on Chrome, we’ll help you keep track of shopping carts you’ve begun to fill, so you can easily resume your virtual shopping trip. We're also working with retailers to surface loyalty benefits for customers earlier, to help inform their decisions.

Last year we made it free for merchants to sell their products on Google. Now, we’re introducing a new, simplified process that helps Shopify’s 1.7 million merchants make their products discoverable across Google in just a few clicks.  

Whether we’re understanding the world’s information, or helping you understand it too, we’re dedicated to making our products more useful every day. And with the power of AI, no matter how complex your task, we’ll be able to bring you the highest quality, most relevant results. 

Source: Google LatLong


MUM: A new AI milestone for understanding information

When I tell people I work on Google Search, I’m sometimes asked, "Is there any work left to be done?" The short answer is an emphatic “Yes!” There are countless challenges we're trying to solve so Google Search works better for you. Today, we’re sharing how we're addressing one many of us can identify with: having to type out many queries and perform many searches to get the answer you need.

Take this scenario: You’ve hiked Mt. Adams. Now you want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, and you want to know what to do differently to prepare. Today, Google could help you with this, but it would take many thoughtfully considered searches — you’d have to search for the elevation of each mountain, the average temperature in the fall, difficulty of the hiking trails, the right gear to use, and more. After a number of searches, you’d eventually be able to get the answer you need.

But if you were talking to a hiking expert; you could ask one question — “what should I do differently to prepare?” You’d get a thoughtful answer that takes into account the nuances of your task at hand and guides you through the many things to consider.  

This example is not unique — many of us tackle all sorts of tasks that require multiple steps with Google every day. In fact, we find that people issue eight queries on average for complex tasks like this one. 

Today's search engines aren't quite sophisticated enough to answer the way an expert would. But with a new technology called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, we're getting closer to helping you with these types of complex needs. So in the future, you’ll need fewer searches to get things done. 


Helping you when there isn’t a simple answer

MUM has the potential to transform how Google helps you with complex tasks. Like BERT, MUM is built on a Transformer architecture, but it’s 1,000 times more powerful. MUM not only understands language, but also generates it. It’s trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models. And MUM is multimodal, so it understands information across text and images and, in the future, can expand to more modalities like video and audio.

Take the question about hiking Mt. Fuji: MUM could understand you’re comparing two mountains, so elevation and trail information may be relevant. It could also understand that, in the context of hiking, to “prepare” could include things like fitness training as well as finding the right gear. 

Animated GIF visualization representing how MUM interprets the question “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do to prepare?

Since MUM can surface insights based on its deep knowledge of the world, it could highlight that while both mountains are roughly the same elevation, fall is the rainy season on Mt. Fuji so you might need a waterproof jacket. MUM could also surface helpful subtopics for deeper exploration — like the top-rated gear or best training exercises — with pointers to helpful articles, videos and images from across the web. 


Removing language barriers

Language can be a significant barrier to accessing information. MUM has the potential to break down these boundaries by transferring knowledge across languages. It can learn from sources that aren’t written in the language you wrote your search in, and help bring that information to you. 

Say there’s really helpful information about Mt. Fuji written in Japanese; today, you probably won’t find it if you don’t search in Japanese. But MUM could transfer knowledge from sources across languages, and use those insights to find the most relevant results in your preferred language. So in the future, when you’re searching for information about visiting Mt. Fuji, you might see results like where to enjoy the best views of the mountain, onsen in the area and popular souvenir shops — all information more commonly found when searching in Japanese.

Animated GIF showing a visualization of different illustrations of news sources in different languages.

Understanding information across types

MUM is multimodal, which means it can understand information from different formats like webpages, pictures and more, simultaneously. Eventually, you might be able to take a photo of your hiking boots and ask, “can I use these to hike Mt. Fuji?” MUM would understand the image and connect it with your question to let you know your boots would work just fine. It could then point you to a blog with a list of recommended gear.  

Animated GIF showing a photo of hiking shoes. The question “can I use these to hike Mt. Fuji?” appears next to the shoes.

Applying advanced AI to Search, responsibly

Whenever we take a leap forward with AI to make the world’s information more accessible, we do so responsibly. Every improvement to Google Search undergoes a rigorous evaluation process to ensure we’re providing more relevant, helpful results. Human raters, who follow our Search Quality Rater Guidelines, help us understand how well our results help people find information. 

Just as we’ve carefully tested the many applications of BERT launched since 2019, MUM will undergo the same process as we apply these models in Search. Specifically, we’ll look for patterns that may indicate bias in machine learning to avoid introducing bias into our systems. We’ll also apply learnings from our latest research on how to reduce the carbon footprint of training systems like MUM, to make sure Search keeps running as efficiently as possible.

We’ll bring MUM-powered features and improvements to our products in the coming months and years. Though we’re in the early days of exploring MUM, it’s an important milestone toward a future where Google can understand all of the different ways people naturally communicate and interpret information.