Tag Archives: Search

How insights from people around the world make Google Search better

Every Google search you do is one of billions we receive that day. In less than half a second, our systems sort through hundreds of billions of web pages to try and find the most relevant and helpful results available.


Because the web and people’s information needs keep changing, we make a lot of improvements to our search algorithms to keep up. Thousands per year, in fact. And we’re always working on new ways to make our results more helpful whether it’s a new feature, or bringing new language understanding capabilities to Search.


The improvements we make go through an evaluation process designed so that people around the world continue to find Google useful for whatever they’re looking for. Here are some ways that insights and feedback from people around the world help make Search better.


Our research team at work

Changes that we make to Search are aimed at making it easier for people to find useful information, but depending on their interests, what language they speak, and where they are in the world, different people have different information needs. It’s our mission to make information universally accessible and useful, and we are committed to serving all of our users in pursuit of that goal.


This is why we have a research team whose job it is to talk to people all around the world to understand how Search can be more useful. We invite people to give us feedback on different iterations of our projects and we do field research to understand how people in different communities access information online.


For example, we’ve learned over the years about the unique needs and technical limitations that people in emerging markets have when accessing information online. So we developed Google Go, a lightweight search app that works well with less powerful phones and less reliable connections. On Google Go, we’ve also introduced uniquely helpful features, including one that lets you listen to web pages out loud, which is particularly useful for people learning a new language or who may be less comfortable with reading long text. Features like these would not be possible without insights from the people who will ultimately use them.


Search quality raters

A key part of our evaluation process is getting feedback from everyday users about whether our ranking systems and proposed improvements are working well. But what do we mean by “working well”? We publish publicly available rater guidelines that describe in great detail how our systems intend to surface great content. These guidelines are more than 160 pages long, but if we have to boil it down to just a phrase, we like to say that Search is designed to return relevant results from the most reliable sources available.


Our systems use signals from the web itself—like where words in your search appear on web pages, or how pages link to one another on the web—to understand what information is related to your query and whether it’s information that people tend to trust. But notions of relevance and trustworthiness are ultimately human judgments, so to measure whether our systems are in fact understanding these correctly, we need to gather insights from people.


To do this, we have a group of more than 10,000 people all over the world we call “search quality raters.” Raters help us measure how people are likely to experience our results. They provide ratings based on our guidelines and represent real users and their likely information needs, using their best judgment to represent their locale. These people study and are tested on our rater guidelines before they can begin to provide ratings.


How rating works

Here’s how a rater task works: we generate a sample of queries (say, a few hundred). A group of raters will be assigned this set of queries, and they’re shown two versions of results pages for those searches. One set of results is from the current version of Google, and the other set is from an improvement we’re considering.


Raters review every page listed in the results set and evaluate that page against the query, based on our rater guidelines. They evaluate whether those pages meet the information needs based on their understanding of what that query was seeking, and they consider things like how authoritative and trustworthy that source seems to be on the topic in the query. To evaluate things like expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness—sometimes referred to as “E-A-T”—raters are asked to do reputational research on the sources.


Here’s what that looks like in practice: imagine the sample query is “carrot cake recipe.” The results set may include articles from recipe sites, food magazines, food brands and perhaps blogs. To determine if a webpage meets their information needs, a rater might consider how easy the cooking instructions are to understand, how helpful the recipe is in terms of visual instructions and imagery, and whether there are other useful features on the site, like a shopping list creator or calculator for recipe doubling. 


To understand if the author has subject matter expertise, a rater would do some online research to see if the author has cooking credentials, has been profiled or referenced on other food websites, or has produced other great content that has garnered positive reviews or ratings on recipe sites. Basically, they do some digging to answer questions like: is this page trustworthy, and does it come from a site or author with a good reputation?  


Ratings are not used directly for search ranking

Once raters have done this research, they then provide a quality rating for each page. It’s important to note that this rating does not directly impact how this page or site ranks in Search. Nobody is deciding that any given source is “authoritative” or “trustworthy.” In particular, pages are not assigned ratings as a way to determine how well to rank them. Indeed, that would be an impossible task and a poor signal for us to use. With hundreds of billions of pages that are constantly changing, there’s no way humans could evaluate every page on a recurring basis.


Instead, ratings are a data point that, when taken in aggregate, helps us measure how well our systems are working to deliver great content that’s aligned with how people—across the country and around the world—evaluate information.


Last year alone, we did more than 383,605 search quality tests and 62,937 side-by-side experiments with our search quality raters to measure the quality of our results and help us make more than 3,600 improvements to our search algorithms. 


In-product experiments

Our research and rater feedback isn’t the only feedback we use when making improvements. We also need to understand how a new feature will work when it’s actually available in Search and people are using it as they would in real life. To make sure we’re able to get these insights, we test how people interact with new features through live experiments.


They’re called “live” experiments because they’re actually available to a small proportion of randomly selected people using the current version of Search. To test a change, we will launch a feature to a small percentage of all queries we get, and we look at a number of different metrics to measure the impact.


Did people click or tap on the new feature? Did most people just scroll past it? Did it make the page load slower? These insights can help us understand quite a bit about whether a new feature or change is helpful and if people will actually use it.


In 2019, we ran more than 17,000 live traffic experiments to test out new features and improvements to Search. If you compare that with how many launches actually happened (around 3600, remember?), you can see that only the best and most useful improvements make it into Search.


Always improving

While our search results will never be perfect, these research and evaluation processes have proven to be very effective over the past two decades. They allow us to make frequent improvements and ensure that the changes we make represent the needs of people around the world coming to Search for information.


Source: Search


Find helpful information on the mortgage process in Search

Whether you’re a first time home buyer or you’re looking for refinancing information for your current home, the mortgage journey can feel complex and overwhelming. In fact, search interest in “how to buy a house” reached an all-time high in May 2020 in the U.S. and search interest in refinancing reached an all-time high in March. There are several questions to ask and factors to consider, like costs, rates, timing and  loan options. According to Google Trends, the most searched mortgage-related questions in the past year in the U.S. are: What is a mortgage? What is PMI? Should I refinance? What is APR? What is escrow? 


Buying a house is a big financial decision and having clear, trustworthy information is important. To help people better understand the mortgage process, we collaborated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to create a new mobile experience in Search. When you search for “mortgage” on your phone, you’ll find a feature that breaks down the complex mortgage process into easy-to-follow steps to help guide you, wherever you may be in the process. It also connects you to a set of useful resources, including news articles, industry definitions and terms, a calculator to assist with payment plans and average mortgage rates. And for those looking for relief and refinance information, we’ll show some of the options available to you.
Mortgage Search Experience


Learn the lingo

First, even understanding the terminology behind mortgages can be challenging. That’s why the overview shows key concepts and definitions, like annual percentage rate, adjustable mortgage rate, or appraisal fee, used in the mortgage industry. You can also filter by relevant categories to make the search even easier. And if you select the information button ("i") throughout the feature, you’ll find additional tips to help you calculate payments or affordability.

The mortgage journey

For those looking for insights on how to get started or preparing to close, we collaborated with the CFPB to surface the key steps involved in getting a mortgage under the process section. No matter what phase of the journey you’re on, you can select a step to find a list of relevant documents and  helpful tips from the CFPB. And to help you determine the next phase, you'll find a list of popular and recommended next steps to guide you on the way.

Mortgage Process

Calculate your estimated payments

Once you’re ready to begin calculating your monthly payments or purchase budget, you can use the mortgage calculator to quickly estimate your options, with or without taxes, based on current average mortgage rates. Set your parameters, such as location, credit score, and loan term to see what payment plan makes the most sense for your situation.

Mortgage Calculator

Find and compare mortgage rates

To provide more context about the current industry rates, we added a “mortgage rates” section to the feature. You’ll see a breakdown of the average mortgage rates in the market and a graph with daily granularity on rates. You can also compare up to five selected fixed-rate and ARM mortgage plans to understand the options you may have at a variety of rates. This can also be filtered by your location, down payment, credit score and more.

Mortgage Rates

For those impacted by the recent economic downturn searching for mortgage relief or if you are wanting to refinance your current home, we added relief and refinance information from the CFPB and the web to help you explore what options are available to you. 


Buying a home can be among the most important financial decisions in your life, and having clear, trustworthy information is important. Even though the process can be challenging and it’s a big commitment, we hope these new features can help you find the right path for you.  


Source: Search


Learn more about what you see on Google Images

In recent years, we’ve made Google Images more useful by helping you explore beyond the image itself. For example, there are captions on thumbnail images in search results, Lens lets you search within images you find, and you can explore similar ideas with the Related Images feature. All of these improvements have the common goal of making it easier to find visual inspiration, learn new things, and get more done. 


Starting this week, a new feature makes it easy to find quick facts about what you see on Google Images. When you search for an image on mobile in the U.S., you might see information from the Knowledge Graph related to the result. That information would include people, places or things related to the image from the Knowledge Graph’s database of billions of facts, helping you explore the topic more.


For example, let’s say you’re searching for beautiful state parks to visit nearby. You want to swim during your visit, so you tap on a picture of a park with a river. Beneath the photo you might see related topics, such as the name of the river, or which city the park is in. If you tap a specific topic, it will expand and show you a short description of the person, place or thing it references, along with a link to learn more and other related topics for you to explore. With this information, you can better understand the image you’re viewing and whether the web page is relevant to your search.


Montana - Google Images

Or perhaps you’re looking for information about a famous architect’s work to inspire a home renovation or art project. You might come across this article about the architect winning an award and be able to easily learn more about the woman who is the namesake of that prize.


Architect - Google Images

To generate these links to relevant Knowledge Graph entities, we take what we understand about the image through deep learning, which evaluates an image’s visual and text signals, and combine it with Google’s understanding of the text on the image’s web page. This information helps us determine the most likely people, places or things relevant to a specific image. We match this with existing topics in the Knowledge Graph, and then surface them in Google Images when we’re confident we’ve found a match.


This feature will start to appear on some images of people, places and things in Google Images and will expand to more images, languages and surfaces over time. Take a look for yourself and learn something new about images from across the web.

Learn more about what you see on Google Images

In recent years, we’ve made Google Images more useful by helping you explore beyond the image itself. For example, there are captions on thumbnail images in search results, Lens lets you search within images you find, and you can explore similar ideas with the Related Images feature. All of these improvements have the common goal of making it easier to find visual inspiration, learn new things, and get more done. 


Starting this week, a new feature makes it easy to find quick facts about what you see on Google Images. When you search for an image on mobile in the U.S., you might see information from the Knowledge Graph related to the result. That information would include people, places or things related to the image from the Knowledge Graph’s database of billions of facts, helping you explore the topic more.


For example, let’s say you’re searching for beautiful state parks to visit nearby. You want to swim during your visit, so you tap on a picture of a park with a river. Beneath the photo you might see related topics, such as the name of the river, or which city the park is in. If you tap a specific topic, it will expand and show you a short description of the person, place or thing it references, along with a link to learn more and other related topics for you to explore. With this information, you can better understand the image you’re viewing and whether the web page is relevant to your search.


Montana - Google Images

Or perhaps you’re looking for information about a famous architect’s work to inspire a home renovation or art project. You might come across this article about the architect winning an award and be able to easily learn more about the woman who is the namesake of that prize.


Architect - Google Images

To generate these links to relevant Knowledge Graph entities, we take what we understand about the image through deep learning, which evaluates an image’s visual and text signals, and combine it with Google’s understanding of the text on the image’s web page. This information helps us determine the most likely people, places or things relevant to a specific image. We match this with existing topics in the Knowledge Graph, and then surface them in Google Images when we’re confident we’ve found a match.


This feature will start to appear on some images of people, places and things in Google Images and will expand to more images, languages and surfaces over time. Take a look for yourself and learn something new about images from across the web.

Learn more about what you see on Google Images

In recent years, we’ve made Google Images more useful by helping you explore beyond the image itself. For example, there are captions on thumbnail images in search results, Lens lets you search within images you find, and you can explore similar ideas with the Related Images feature. All of these improvements have the common goal of making it easier to find visual inspiration, learn new things, and get more done. 


Starting this week, a new feature makes it easy to find quick facts about what you see on Google Images. When you search for an image on mobile in the U.S., you might see information from the Knowledge Graph related to the result. That information would include people, places or things related to the image from the Knowledge Graph’s database of billions of facts, helping you explore the topic more.


For example, let’s say you’re searching for beautiful state parks to visit nearby. You want to swim during your visit, so you tap on a picture of a park with a river. Beneath the photo you might see related topics, such as the name of the river, or which city the park is in. If you tap a specific topic, it will expand and show you a short description of the person, place or thing it references, along with a link to learn more and other related topics for you to explore. With this information, you can better understand the image you’re viewing and whether the web page is relevant to your search.


Montana - Google Images

Or perhaps you’re looking for information about a famous architect’s work to inspire a home renovation or art project. You might come across this article about the architect winning an award and be able to easily learn more about the woman who is the namesake of that prize.


Architect - Google Images

To generate these links to relevant Knowledge Graph entities, we take what we understand about the image through deep learning, which evaluates an image’s visual and text signals, and combine it with Google’s understanding of the text on the image’s web page. This information helps us determine the most likely people, places or things relevant to a specific image. We match this with existing topics in the Knowledge Graph, and then surface them in Google Images when we’re confident we’ve found a match.


This feature will start to appear on some images of people, places and things in Google Images and will expand to more images, languages and surfaces over time. Take a look for yourself and learn something new about images from across the web.

Grillin’ it: Barbecue trends and family recipes

This Fourth of July, the fairground fireworks and pool parties may be put on hold. But there’s one thing we don’t have to cancel: Firing up the grill and hanging out in the backyard. In fact, “4th of July grilling ideas” spiked more than 400 percent in the U.S. within the past week.


While many of us will head to our patios and yards, what we’re cooking up varies across the country. According to Google Trends, North Carolinians are searching for “bbq slaw” recipes. And in Oklahoma, they’re looking up “oven baked barbeque catfish.” In Colorado, searches for “bbq chicken recipes” are up. If you’re curious about what your own state is searching for, you can check out this map showing unique "How to grill..." searches in each state over the past week. 


Screen Shot 2020-07-01 at 8.56.18 AM.png

And if you head to Search and look up “Fourth of July”, you’ll find Cameos from chefs like Alice Randall and Mary Ann Esposito spilling their BBQ secrets and recipes. (During your search, you may find more than culinary advice; check out the homepage for a sparkling new Doodle and Search results...and perhaps some other surprises.)

Feeling inspired⁠—or hungry? We also asked Googlers to share their favorite grilling recipes. 

“Texas Crutch” Smoked Brisket

Submitted by Ryan Ausanka-Crues, Engineering Manager on Android TV

My family is all from Texas so I grew up barbecuing with my grandfather. As such, I don't apologize for using the Texas Crutch (the method of cooking brisket in foil). Plus, it's fun to wait until after people try the brisket to tell them it was made by a vegetarian. Even though I’ve been vegetarian for 20 years, I still enjoy the art and technique of barbecuing with fire.

  1. Dry-brine the meat (0.1 oz of salt per pound of beef) at least 24 hours before smoking.

  2. Prepare the smoker, then apply big bad beef rub to the meat just before adding to the smoker.

  3. Aim to keep smoker between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit (275 degrees if you're using logs instead of charcoal) and add wood chunks to fire every 30 minutes for the first two hours.

  4. When the meat hits "the stall," wrap tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil and return to the fire (also known as, the Texas Crutch).

  5. Smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit (about 12 hours).

  6. Remove from heat and let sit, still wrapped, until temperature drops below 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Steak and Tenderstem Broccoli

Submitted by Ken Graham, Financial Analyst

When I first started grilling, I wanted to perfect this popular method of getting the meat as close to the heat as possible. 

  1. Buy the best quality meat you can afford, about ¾-inch thick is best for this method. Good steak should stand up on it's own, no real sauce or spice needed. I like rib eye, but to each their own.

  2. Take the steaks out of the fridge about an hour before you want to cook them, season with salt and then put them back in the fridge.

  3. Pat the steaks dry when you take them out of the fridge; water will inhibit the browning of the meat. 

  4. You want your grill screaming hot, so whack it up to max on all burners. Before you turn it up, take the grates off, and then place one of the grates directly on the bars (if it's gas) or coals (if it's charcoal). 

  5. Grill your steaks on the grate flipping every minute. Three or four minutes should get you to medium rare, depending on the heat of the grill, but using a meat thermometer is best; you want to get it around 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit.

  6. Serve with whatever sides you like, but I like Tenderstem broccoli, which I grill on the grates I used for the steak. They pick up some of the steak flavor and cook quickly but stay crunchy.

Wine Can Chicken

Submitted by Helynn Nelson, People Consultant and Nekosi Nelson, Staffing Lead

This recipe is one of the first experimental dishes my husband, Kosi, cooked 15 years ago when we were newlyweds and it gets better and better with time. He’s allowed me to co-opt his recipe a bit by introducing one of my favorite ingredients...wine! I run the Google wine club in our Austin office, so I also want to suggest a wine pairing: I’d enjoy this meal with a Viognier or an oaked Fume Blanc. 

  1. Gather your ingredients: 2 tablespoons Tony Chachere seasoning; 2 tablespoons Kosher salt; 2 tablespoons onion powder; 2 teaspoons dried thyme; 2 teaspoons dried oregano; 2 teaspoons black pepper; 2 teaspoons garlic powder. For the chicken (I usually choose one around four pounds), you’ll need: olive oil; a 12 oz can of dry white wine.

  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together. 

  3. Marinate your chicken in the seasonings 24 hours before grilling. Remember to season the cavity (and wrap in plastic wrap).

  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.

  5. Rub the chicken and its cavity down with the olive oil. Pour out 1/4 of the wine and sit the chicken on top of the wine can. Place the chicken in the center of the hot grill and cover. Cook the chicken for an hour to an hour and a half, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once cooked, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Ancho Chile Skirt Steak Tacos

Submitted by Kayla Geier, Senior Communications Associate

My family's favorite activity is getting together and cooking–whether it's tamales for Christmas or tacos for the Fourth of July. Since my grandfather's passing I've taken the role of grilling, using some of his "secrets", along with tricks from a few cookbooks. I find that grilling helps me keep his memory alive.

  1. Place steak (recipe calls for 2 lbs) in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag or covered bowl. 
  2. Stir together the juice of 2 limes, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder, 1/4 tablespoon onion salt and 2 tablespoons garlic powder. 
  3. Whisk the above in 1/4 cup olive oil, and pour over flank steak. 
  4. Seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill 1-12 hours.
  5. Grill to your liking–medium is always preferred. 
  6. Top with slices of cucumber (it'll cool down the heat), your favorite salsa (mine is Tapatio) and fresh guac with the spice of Serrano chiles on a flour tortilla.

Uncle Buck’s Ribs

Submitted by Susannah Callahan, Product Marketing Manager at Google Nest

Growing up in St. Louis, pork baby back ribs were always a favorite, especially around the Fourth of July. My Uncle Buck—not that one, but just as funny—has been perfecting his rib recipe for friends and family since the 1970s. The layers of marinade and sauces make these ribs extra juicy and tender, but also easy enough to tackle for grilling novices. 

  1. Around 24-48 hours before grill time, place 4-5 lbs (or two full racks) of pork baby back ribs (membrane removed), in the following marinade: 1 cup chicken broth; 1 cup soy sauce; 1 cup brown sugar; 5 tablespoons cider vinegar; 5 tablespoons olive oil; ½ teaspoon garlic powder; ½ teaspoon dehydrated onion; 1 tablespoon of paprika; 1 tablespoon of cornstarch; 3 tablespoons liquid smoke; salt and pepper .

  2. 30 minutes before grilling, glaze the ribs with Korean BBQ sauce (make sure it has apple and pear puree). This sweet sauce helps to caramelize the ribs when they hit the grill.

  3. Heat the grill to 550-600 degrees Fahrenheit and baste each side of the ribs on the grill twice, for two to three minutes. 

  4. Then, turn the grill down to 300 degrees and repeat the basting process and timing above two more times with the leftover marinade. 

  5. Lastly, turn the temperature down to 200 degrees and baste each side with your choice of thick honey BBQ sauce three times for three minutes. Serve immediately. 

Here’s to a happy, safe and delicious holiday! 

Travel back in time with AR dinosaurs in Search

Dinosaurs may have ruled the Earth millions of years ago, but with augmented reality (AR), you can turn your home into “Jurassic World.” We're partnering with Universal Brand Development, Amblin Entertainment and Ludia to bring 10 dinosaurs from the franchise film, “Jurassic World”, to Google Search. Watch the massive T. Rex stomp in your living room or gaze up at a majestic Brachiosaurus as it towers above a neighborhood tree. 

Search for a dinosaur on Google using a mobile device and tap “View in 3D” to rotate or zoom in and see it up close. You can then bring the dinosaur into your space with AR and adjust its size to understand how big it is in relation to the things around you. On Android devices, turn up your volume to hear the thudding footsteps and roars of each dinosaur. 

“Jurassic World” dinosaurs that are viewable in AR include: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Pteranodon, and Parasaurolophus.

A behind-the-scenes look at how
“Jurassic World” AR dinosaurs are made 

Using technology from Ludia’s “Jurassic World Alive” game, these AR dinosaurs are some of the most realistic models out there. Check out this video to see how an AR Brachiosaurus is made, including 3D modeling, texturing and animation.

“To create the 3D dinosaurs, our concept artists first did preliminary research to discover information about each creature,” says Camilo Sanin, Ludia’s Lead on Character Creations. “Not only did we draw research from various forms of literature, our artists also worked with paleontologists and the ‘Jurassic World’ team to make the assets as accurate and realistic as possible. Even the smallest of details, such as irregularities of skin color and patterns, are important.” 

Unlike some of Google’s AR animals, like a dog or tiger, dinosaurs pose a new technical challenge: their massive size. The new auto-scale feature on Android can now automatically calculate the distance between your phone and a surface in your space and resize the dinosaur so it fits on your phone screen. If you tap “View actual size,” AR tracking technology automatically repositions the dinosaur in your space to make room for it.

view actual size.gif

New auto-scale feature on Android

How to access and share

On Android, search for “dinosaur” or one of the 10 dinosaurs on the Google app or any Android browser and tap “View in 3D.” You can see 3D content on devices running with Android 7 and above and you can see AR content on ARCore-enabled devices. Easily explore all dinosaurs using the carousel format. 

On iOS, search for “dinosaur” or one of the 10 dinosaurs on the Google app or on Google.com with Chrome or Safari. 3D and AR content is available on devices running iOS 11 and above.

You can also create AR videos—or recreate your favorite scenes from the “Jurassic World” movies—with the recording option. Don’t forget to tag your photos and videos on social with #Google3D and #JurassicWorld. Safe traveling (back in time)!

Bringing free retail listings to Google Search

When shopping online, it can be daunting to find the right product, the best seller, or the best value. People often have many high quality choices available but aren't always aware of them all or don't have an easy way to access them. For many merchants, connecting with customers in a digital environment is still relatively new territory or a smaller part of their business. However, consumer preference for online shopping has increased dramatically, and it’s crucial that we help people find all the best options available and help merchants more easily connect with consumers online.

Free listings on Google Search

We recently announced that product results on the Google Shopping tab in the U.S. will consist primarily of free listings. This change has already produced a significant increase in user engagement, with both clicks and impressions up substantially for merchants, meaning consumers are finding more of the products they’re looking for from a wider range of options. Sellers of all sizes are benefitting from this incremental traffic, particularly small and medium-sized businesses. And we already see that these changes will help generate billions of dollars in sales for retailers and brands in the U.S., on an annual basis.

Now, we’re bringing free listings to the main Google Search results page in the U.S., helping shoppers choose the products and sellers that will serve them best, from the widest variety of options.

More business for your business 

Free listings in Google Search results makes your offers more accessible to the hundreds of millions of people who shop on Google each day, connecting you to more customers in more places—whether they’re across the country or across the street. Initially, free listings on Google Search will appear in a product knowledge panel that shows buying options for a particular item, like this tea kettle:

jackpot-organic-offers-oxo-tea-125-shortened_62620.gif

Today, the buying options in this panel are all sponsored links. Starting this summer, these listings will be free. We’re rolling this out in the U.S., first on mobile, followed later by desktop. Learn more about listing your products for free across Google surfaces in our help center. 

Finally, Shopping ads continue to be a great tool for merchants to engage with consumers and will appear separately at the top of the page, clearly marked like Google’s other ad units. Merchants can choose how to show up and shoppers can choose where to click.

Another step towards more choice

Free listings on Google Search are a big step forward in democratizing access to digital commerce, benefitting shoppers and merchants with more choices across the board. We’ll have even more updates soon, so stay tuned.

Now sending: Business Messages via Google Maps and Search

People develop loyalty to the brands that make it easy to purchase products and services and connect with their customer support. Google has built digital tools to help brands do this, including the ability to message customers through Google Maps and Search, via Google My Business. Messaging has become such a valuable way to connect with customers that twice as many businesses are messaging via Google now, compared to last year.

Today we’re expanding Business Messages in Maps and Search to support all kinds of businesses, and giving them the ability to integrate Business Messages directly with their customer service platforms. Business Messages provides brands a comprehensive messaging solution across Android devices, and through Maps on iOS. To improve connections with customers, we’ve recently introduced new smart replies, visual product carousels, and unique welcome messages. There’s also a smooth transition from automated replies to a customer service agent, so that it's not disruptive when the customer messages a business.

Several organizations, including Woolworths, Walmart and MyGov were among the first to try the updated Business Messages experience to make customer care more effective and efficient, particularly during COVID-19. Woolworths, Australia's largest supermarket, allows customers to search for products and see availability and aisle information at their local store, plus get details about hours and COVID-19 related updates to make shopping easier. In just a few messages, Walmart lets customers quickly find up-to-date information about store hours, pick-up and delivery options, precautions and more. And MyGov, with partner Amplify.ai, is providing help and answering live questions from Indian citizens about hours, COVID-19 helplines, and ways to volunteer and donate, for more than 11,000 food and night shelters across India.

A number of brands are using Business Messages to sell products and answer customer questions along the way. Mattress Firm, with messaging partner Podium, is successfully selling mattresses directly through Business Messages by sharing videos and product information, even while stores were closed due to COVID-19. DISH, with partner [24]7.ai, has seen a reduction of more than 22 percent in average handle time using Business Messages features compared to other messaging channels.

As brands connect with their customers via Business Messages, we’re experimenting with more ways for them to highlight this communications tool on Search. Business Messages will also be available on mobile websites so that a business can add the ability for customers to quickly “Message” right from their site and offer the same smart automated replies, paired with live agent connection.

Business Messages is currently available in English, with expanded coverage to other languages launching soon. Brands and messaging partners can sign up to access the Business Messages API and developer documentation. We also have partners ready to help brands optimize their messaging flow with engaged customers. Businesses can also still manage messaging through Google My Business

Now sending: Business Messages via Google Maps and Search

People develop loyalty to the brands that make it easy to purchase products and services and connect with their customer support. Google has built digital tools to help brands do this, including the ability to message customers through Google Maps and Search, via Google My Business. Messaging has become such a valuable way to connect with customers that twice as many businesses are messaging via Google now, compared to last year.

Today we’re expanding Business Messages in Maps and Search to support all kinds of businesses, and giving them the ability to integrate Business Messages directly with their customer service platforms. Business Messages provides brands a comprehensive messaging solution across Android devices, and through Maps on iOS. To improve connections with customers, we’ve recently introduced new smart replies, visual product carousels, and unique welcome messages. There’s also a smooth transition from automated replies to a customer service agent, so that it's not disruptive when the customer messages a business.

Several organizations, including Woolworths, Walmart and MyGov were among the first to try the updated Business Messages experience to make customer care more effective and efficient, particularly during COVID-19. Woolworths, Australia's largest supermarket, allows customers to search for products and see availability and aisle information at their local store, plus get details about hours and COVID-19 related updates to make shopping easier. In just a few messages, Walmart lets customers quickly find up-to-date information about store hours, pick-up and delivery options, precautions and more. And MyGov, with partner Amplify.ai, is providing help and answering live questions from Indian citizens about hours, COVID-19 helplines, and ways to volunteer and donate, for more than 11,000 food and night shelters across India.

A number of brands are using Business Messages to sell products and answer customer questions along the way. Mattress Firm, with messaging partner Podium, is successfully selling mattresses directly through Business Messages by sharing videos and product information, even while stores were closed due to COVID-19. DISH, with partner [24]7.ai, has seen a reduction of more than 22 percent in average handle time using Business Messages features compared to other messaging channels.

As brands connect with their customers via Business Messages, we’re experimenting with more ways for them to highlight this communications tool on Search. Business Messages will also be available on mobile websites so that a business can add the ability for customers to quickly “Message” right from their site and offer the same smart automated replies, paired with live agent connection.

Business Messages is currently available in English, with expanded coverage to other languages launching soon. Brands and messaging partners can sign up to access the Business Messages API and developer documentation. We also have partners ready to help brands optimize their messaging flow with engaged customers. Businesses can also still manage messaging through Google My Business