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How AI is making information more useful

by Prabhakar Raghavan on Sep.30, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Today, there’s more information accessible at people’s fingertips than at any point in human history. And advances in artificial intelligence will radically transform the way we use that information, with the ability to uncover new insights that can help us both in our daily lives and in the ways we are able to tackle complex global challenges.

At our Search On livestream event today, we shared how we’re bringing the latest in AI to Google’s products, giving people new ways to search and explore information in more natural and intuitive ways.


Making multimodal search possible with MUM

Earlier this year at Google I/O, we announced we’ve reached a critical milestone for understanding information with Multitask Unified Model, or MUM for short.

We’ve been experimenting with using MUM’s capabilities to make our products more helpful and enable entirely new ways to search. Today, we’re sharing an early look at what will be possible with MUM. 

In the coming months, we’ll introduce a new way to search visually, with the ability to ask questions about what you see. Here are a couple of examples of what will be possible with MUM.

Animated GIF showing how you can tap on the Lens icon when you’re looking at a picture of a shirt, and ask Google to find you the same pattern — but on another article of clothing, like socks.

With this new capability, you can tap on the Lens icon when you’re looking at a picture of a shirt, and ask Google to find you the same pattern — but on another article of clothing, like socks. This helps when you’re looking for something that might be difficult to describe accurately with words alone. You could type “white floral Victorian socks,” but you might not find the exact pattern you’re looking for. By combining images and text into a single query, we’re making it easier to search visually and express your questions in more natural ways.

Animated GIF showing the point-and-ask mode of searching that can make it easier to find the exact moment in a video that can help you with instructions on fixing your bike.

Some questions are even trickier: Your bike has a broken thingamajig, and you need some guidance on how to fix it. Instead of poring over catalogs of parts and then looking for a tutorial, the point-and-ask mode of searching will make it easier to find the exact moment in a video that can help.


Helping you explore with a redesigned Search page

We’re also announcing how we’re applying AI advances like MUM to redesign Google Search. These new features are the latest steps we’re taking to make searching more natural and intuitive.

First, we’re making it easier to explore and understand new topics with “Things to know.” Let’s say you want to decorate your apartment, and you’re interested in learning more about creating acrylic paintings.

The search results page for the query “acrylic painting” that scrolls to a new feature called “Things to know”, which lists out various aspects of the topic like, “step by step”, “styles” and “using household items."

If you search for “acrylic painting,” Google understands how people typically explore this topic, and shows the aspects people are likely to look at first. For example, we can identify more than 350 topics related to acrylic painting, and help you find the right path to take.

We’ll be launching this feature in the coming months. In the future, MUM will unlock deeper insights you might not have known to search for — like “how to make acrylic paintings with household items” — and connect you with content on the web that you wouldn’t have otherwise found.

Two phone screens side by side highlight a set of queries and tappable features that allow you to refine to more specific searches for acrylic painting or broaden to concepts like famous painters.

Second, to help you further explore ideas, we’re making it easy to zoom in and out of a topic with new features to refine and broaden searches. 

In this case, you can learn more about specific techniques, like puddle pouring, or art classes you can take. You can also broaden your search to see other related topics, like other painting methods and famous painters. These features will launch in the coming months.

A scrolling results page for the query “pour painting ideas” that shows results with bold images and video thumbnails.

Third, we’re making it easier to find visual inspiration with a newly designed, browsable results page. If puddle pouring caught your eye, just search for “pour painting ideas" to see a visually rich page full of ideas from across the web, with articles, images, videos and more that you can easily scroll through. 

This new visual results page is designed for searches that are looking for inspiration, like “Halloween decorating ideas” or “indoor vertical garden ideas,” and you can try it today.

Get more from videos

We already use advanced AI systems to identify key moments in videos, like the winning shot in a basketball game, or steps in a recipe. Today, we’re taking this a step further, introducing a new experience that identifies related topics in a video, with links to easily dig deeper and learn more. 

Using MUM, we can even show related topics that aren’t explicitly mentioned in the video, based on our advanced understanding of information in the video. In this example, while the video doesn’t say the words “macaroni penguin’s life story,” our systems understand that topics contained in the video relate to this topic, like how macaroni penguins find their family members and navigate predators. The first version of this feature will roll out in the coming weeks, and we’ll add more visual enhancements in the coming months.

Across all these MUM experiences, we look forward to helping people discover more web pages, videos, images and ideas that they may not have come across or otherwise searched for. 

A more helpful Google

The updates we’re announcing today don’t end with MUM, though. We’re also making it easier to shop from the widest range of merchants, big and small, no matter what you’re looking for. And we’re helping people better evaluate the credibility of information they find online. Plus, for the moments that matter most, we’re finding new ways to help people get access to information and insights. 

All this work not only helps people around the world, but creators, publishers and businesses as well.  Every day, we send visitors to well over 100 million different websites, and every month, Google connects people with more than 120 million businesses that don't have websites, by enabling phone calls, driving directions and local foot traffic.

As we continue to build more useful products and push the boundaries of what it means to search, we look forward to helping people find the answers they’re looking for, and inspiring more questions along the way.

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16 updates from Google I/O that’ll make your life easier

by Keyword Team on May.21, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Part of our mission is to help make your daily life easier. At I/O this year, we shared news about a wide range of products and services that’ll do just that, from starting your car with your phone to searching your screenshots using Google Lens. Here are just a few of the features you should keep an eye out for. 

Quickly view your notifications, invoke Google Assistant on Android.

Android 12 includes the biggest design change since 2014. We rethought the entire experience, from the colors to the shapes, light and motion, and made it easier to access some of the most used features:

  • To invoke Google Assistant wherever you are, long press the power button.
  • Swipe down to view your new notification shade, an at-a-glance view of all your app notifications in one place.
  • And to make it easier to access everything you need, Google Pay and Device Controls have been added to your customizable quick settings.

Learn about all the big changes in Android 12.

Manage your privacy settings more easily on Android.

On top of the new design changes, we’ve also launched a new Privacy Dashboard, giving you easy access to your permissions settings, visibility into what data is being accessed and the ability to revoke permissions on the spot. You also have new indicators that let you know when apps are using your microphone and camera, as well as a way to quickly shut off that access. And we’ve added new microphone and camera toggles into quick settings so you can easily remove app access to these sensors for the entire system. Learn about new privacy controls in Android 12.

Change the channel with your phone.

Lost your TV remote? Don’t sweat it — we’re building remote-control features directly into your Android phone. Another bonus: If you need to enter a long password to log into one of your many streaming services subscriptions, you can save time and use your phone’s keyboard to enter the text. This built-in remote control will be compatible with devices powered by Android TV OS, including Google TV, and it’ll roll out later this year. Learn more about how we’re helping your devices work better together.

GIF of a user typing a password onto a phone and that password appearing on a TV screen

Use your phone to enter your password for your streaming services.

And unlock your car with your phone while you’re at it.

We’re working with car manufacturers to develop a new digital car key in Android 12. This feature will enable you to use your phone to lock, unlock and even start your car — and in some cases you won’t even need to take it out of your pocket. And because it’s digital, you’ll also be able to securely and remotely share your car key with friends and family if needed. Read more about Android Auto.

Understand more about your Search results.

When you’re looking up information online, it’s important to check  how credible a source is, especially if you aren’t familiar with the website. Our About This Result feature in Google Search 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. This month, we’ll start rolling out About This Result to all English results worldwide, with more languages to come. And later this year, we’re going to add even more helpful contextual details — like how the site describes itself, what other sources are saying about it and related articles to check out.

Change your password using Chrome and Assistant.

Chrome on Android will help you change your passwords with a simple click. On supported sites, whenever you check your passwords and Chrome finds a password that may have been compromised,  you will see a "Change password" button from Assistant.  Powered by Duplex on the Web, Assistant will not only navigate to the site, but actually go through the entire process of changing your password for you.  This feature is already available for purchasing movie tickets, ordering food, and checking into flights.  

Use Google Lens to translate your homework into a language you’re more comfortable with.

Google Lens enables you to search what you see — from your camera, your photos and even your search bar. For a lot of students, their schoolwork might be in a language they’re not as comfortable with. That’s why we’re updating the Translate filter in Lens, making it easy to copy, listen to or search translated text in over 100 languages. Learn more about how information comes to life with Lens and AR.

And search your screenshots with Google Lens.

Lots of people take screenshots of things they’re interested in buying — but it can be hard to follow up on those screenshots afterward. Now when you look at any screenshot in Google Photos, we’ll prompt you to search the photo with Lens. This will help you find that pair of shoes or wallpaper pattern that you liked so much. 

A GIF demonstrating using Google Lens to search a screen shot of a basketball player, returning results for his shoes

Search your screenshots using Google Lens.

When shopping online, keep track of your open carts when you open a new tab.

Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you: You’ve got a browser open to do some online shopping, but then you get distracted and open up two, three, or 10 other windows — and you forget what you were online to do in the first place. We’re introducing a new feature in Chrome that shows you your open carts when you open a new tab. No more lost shopping carts here.

And get the best value for products you’re buying online.

Coming soon, we’ll let you link your favorite loyalty programs from merchants like Sephora to your Google account to show you the best purchase options across Google. Learn more about all our latest shopping updates.

Explore unfamiliar neighborhoods with more detailed views in Maps.

If you’re traveling by foot, augmented reality in Live View will show you helpful details about the shops and restaurants around you – including how busy they are, and recent reviews and photos. And if you’re traveling, Live View will tell you where you are relative to your hotel – so you can always find your way back. 

Avoid the crowds with area busyness.

Maps already shows the busyness of specific places — in fact, more than 80 million people use the live busyness information on Google every day. Now we’re expanding that functionality to show the busyness of an entire area, allowing you to see just how bustling a neighborhood or part of town is at any given moment. This means that if you want to keep things low-key, you can use Maps to see the hotspots to avoid. And if you’re looking for the most popular places to visit, you can use area busyness to scope out the liveliest neighborhoods at a glance.

See breakfast spots in the morning and dinner joints at night. 

We’re updating Maps to show you more relevant information based on what time of day it is and whether you’re traveling. That means we’ll show you things like coffee shops in the morning, when you need that caffeine fix, and burger joints at night, when you’re hungry for dinner. And if you’re on a weekend getaway, we’ll make tourist attractions and local landmarks easier to spot. Learn more about our latest updates to Maps

Discover unexpected Memories in Photos.

Starting later this summer, when we find a set of three or more photos with similarities like shape or color, we'll highlight these little patterns for you in your Memories. For example, Photos might surface a pattern of your family hanging out on the same couch over the years — something you wouldn’t have ever thought to search for, but that tells a deeply meaningful story about your daily life. Learn more about Little patterns in Photos.

Bring your pictures to life with Cinematic moments.

When you’re trying to get the perfect photo, you usually take the same shot two or three (or twenty) times. Using neural networks, we can take two nearly identical images and fill in the gaps by creating new frames in between. This creates vivid, moving images called Cinematic moments. Producing this effect from scratch would take professional animators hours, but with machine learning we can automatically generate these moments and bring them to your Recent Highlights. Learn more about Cinematic moments.

A GIF showing two similar pictures of a child and his baby sibling being converted into a moving image.

Cinematic moments will bring your photos to life.

Transform how you work with smart canvas in Google Workspace. 

As part of our mission to build the future of work, we’re launching smart canvas, a bunch of exciting updates across Docs, Sheets and Meet. New features include interactive building blocks—smart chips, templates, and checklists—as well as a new pageless format in Docs and emoji reactions. We're also bringing Meet closer to Docs, Sheets and Slides, and much more. See all of the big updates to Google Workspace.

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

by Prabhakar Raghavan on May.19, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

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. 

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