Google had a slew of Google Search related announcements at the Google Search On 2021 event. The announcements ranged from improvements and more uses for MUM, to the about this result expanding, to Shoppable search experiences, in-store inventory, Google Lens updates and a bunch of features and redesigns to the Google Search experience.
Here is a summary, the day after, of what was announced at the event, as promised.
Google said it has redesigned Google Search and introduced new features that enable natural, more intuitive ways to search through the use of “advanced AI systems like MUM.” These include additions like things to know, new search refinements, visually browsable result pages and more – many of which we covered as tests in our Google user interface section.
New for About This Result: Google is adding more details to the About This Result feature. Specifically there will be more information about the source, searches will be able to read what a site says about itself in its own words, when that information is available. Searchers can see what others have said, what others on the web have written about a site — news, reviews, and other helpful background context — can help you better evaluate sources. Finally, more about the topic will show you information such as top news coverage or results about the same topic from other sources.
Google told me there is no way for a site owner to say that this information is not accurate or should be removed. Google said it aims to provide a broader view of information, it knows it won’t be perfect but it has a quality bar the sites need to meet to show in this about this result.
Also, Google said this feature has been used about 400 million times, which is obviously a small percentage of searches overall. So some publishers might be upset by some of the information shown at time, but keep in mind, I doubt it will be seen by a large percentage of your users.
This also is launching in the coming weeks for English search results.
Here is how Paul Haahr from Google put it on Twitter:
Today is one of the days that makes the hard parts of work worth it. Very proud of the team that built More About This Result and looking forward to it rolling out over the next few weeks. https://t.co/M5juvTM8Mn
— Paul Haahr (@haahr) September 30, 2021
Things To Know: Google said “when you search for a topic, like acrylic painting, you can see all the different dimensions people typically search for, and find the path that’s right for you.” This will extrapolate more details and serve up categories for the topic, then as you click on them, it shows you a featured snippet for that option and also the ability to click on and show more results. Google is launching this feature in the coming months.
Refine this search / Broaden this search: Additional search refinements named refine this search and broaden this search will roll out in the coming months in English search results. It is basically a supped-up related search features.
Visually browsable: Google also is launching a feature called visually browsable results pages that makes it easier to visually browse to find what you are looking for. We’ve seen Google testing this like I said, where Google had huge images in the search results. It also reminds me of the customized headers for idea queries but only a portion of this is live it seems. I believe Google calls these large images “image universal blocks” and they can appear for idea queries and apparel queries. This will be available soon for in English in the U.S. when you search for visual ideas.
MUM with videos in Google Search: Google said it now can more deeply understand videos using MUM. Google said it has a new MUM-based experience that identifies related topics in a video, even if the topic isn’t explicitly mentioned. This is launching in the coming weeks in English Google search results.
This is about Google understanding not just the title and description of the video but also the audio and video inside of the video. This is launching I think on YouTube first and then in search as illustrated below.
Shoppable Google Search experience: Google launched in the US a new “shoppable search experience.” This should make it easier to browse for apparel on mobile right from your Search results. Google’s example is when you search for “cropped jackets,” Google Search will show you a visual feed of jackets in various colors and styles alongside other helpful information like local shops, style guides and videos. Google said this is powered by the Google Shopping Graph.
In-store inventory: Google said people want to experience in-person shopping from home so now you can filter the results using an “in stock” filter to see if nearby stores have specific items on their shelves. This is launching in English in the U.S. and select markets, including the UK, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland on September 29th.
Google Lens gets MUM: Google added a bunch of MUM improvements to Google Lens. With Google Lens you can add text to your visual searches and ask questions about what you see. Google said if you see a shirt you like, but you’d prefer the pattern on socks, you can point your camera and ask the question. This is launching on Google Lens in the coming months, starting in English soon.
It is nice to see Google launch more enhancements in search with MUM. Here is what it looks like:
Google Lens is also coming to Chrome and more places in Google Search, like the iOS app.
Those are the bulk of the big announcements from Google’s Search On event.