I attended this year’s “Search On 2022” hosted by Google and listened in to hear all about what Google has in store for the future of Search. Their tagline for this year's event was “Search Outside the Box,” and it was clear that the future of search will jump outside the search bar and use your camera, location, and personal data to help you intuitively find what you're looking for.
As a consumer, the changes coming looked incredible! They shared example after example of how they are making search more natural and intuitive to align with how we naturally find information in the world.
As a marketer, it reinforced that the future of research, commerce, and EVERYTHING will be digital. And according to Google, search is “more than just a search box. It's a small business builder”—an idea that gets a big thumbs up from me.
Want to find a restaurant that serves the yummy dish you found on Pinterest, yet don’t know what it’s called? Google will find the closest restaurant serving it for you by simply uploading a photo of the dish. Want to make more sustainable decisions? Take the eco-friendly route on Google Maps based on whether you have a diesel or gas engine. Need to find an ATM near you? See a 3D interactive view of where to find it.
They rattled off so many updates that were recently rolled out or will be soon, and I did you a solid of recapping the big ideas and highlights here 😁
The future of search is outside the box!
- Multisearch Near Me Will Provide More Intuitive and Natural Ways to Search
- Google Maps Overlays Local Business Information with the Real World
- Online Shopping Is Becoming More Personalized and Fun
- Making Sustainable Choices the Simple Choice
- More Perspectives and Privacy Options
- It’s Getting Easier to Find the Food You Love
1. Multisearch Near Me Will Provide a More Intuitive and Natural Way to Search
We rely on all our senses to learn about the world around us. Google pushed going beyond the search box to help people seek information in the way that makes sense for us, which is multidimensional and relies on all of our senses. Coming this fall, Multisearch Near Me will be available to use your camera’s phone to search by an image (powered by Google Lens) with a text query. The image and text is used to show you visual search results to better find exactly what you're looking for.
- In order to use Multisearch Near Me, users can snap a photo with their camera or long-press an image they've discovered via Google Search, add the phrase "near me," and voila, they'll get results on local businesses that carry the object they desire.
- Like everything, local authority, visibility, and discoverability will be important for local businesses to surface at the top of Google’s results and recommendations.
- Coming this fall, our cameras are our next keyboard!
2. Google Maps Overlays Local Business Information with the Real World
The future of Google Maps is moving from a 2D to 3D world, with rich and multidimensional ways to see your surroundings. They showcased ways they are fusing together satellite street time video with local business information to make local search more visual and immersive.
- There will be more ways for people to see what’s popular in an area and instantly get a feel for what it’s like.
- More photorealistic, 3D models of the real world and landmarks will combine weather, traffic, and business all in one view, to decide when and where to go.
- For example, we will be able to easily browse a neighborhood for popular dinner spots after a baseball game and evaluate how busy they are.
- Visual search is here! Will be able to see more live views to find nearby places in a more natural way.
- These features are rolling out in the coming months.
3. Online Shopping Is More Personalized and Fun
Google touted the future of shopping to be more natural, intuitive, and fun, with more ways to find the latest trends personalized to your body and style. They are trying to make the experience more like window shopping with options to explore trends and what other people are searching—very Pinterest-like in my mind.
- Expect more personalized results. For example, if you search for “Women's handbag,” the next time you search for something it will automatically add a qualifier of "Woman" to only show women’s products.
- Set brand preferences. Similar to above, if you love a certain brand, it will become a default that shows up more often in your searches.
- Shop trends that are popular among others that are also based on your own search history, to find just your style.
- It will be easier for merchants to show off products in 3D. People engage with 3D products ~50% more than static ones, so they will soon be piloting an automatic way to make 360 degree views using only a couple of pictures.
- A new “Page Insights” feature is coming to Chrome that summarizes product info about a web page. This will allow you to see the pros and cons on products and star ratings all in one helpful view. You can also opt-in for price updates to stay on top of deals and discounts.
4. Making Sustainable Choices the Simple Choice
Google is also trying to help do its part with sustainability and provided a few examples of how they are making it easier for everyone to do their part.
- Eco-friendly routing on Google Maps allows you to take the more sustainable route with personalized routes based on your engine type (since diesel and gas are more efficient on different types of road).
- Eco-friendly routing will be made available to developers so ride sharing apps can access and utilize it as well.
- Shop sustainably. Today clothing is responsible for 10% of global emissions, so Google is trying to make it easier to find and buy pre-owned clothing online.
- Reduce food emissions. Emissions from food accounts for 25% of all global emissions, so Google is trying to make it easy to know the impact of the ingredients you eat.
5. More Perspectives and Privacy Options
Google is trying to make all info accessible with an extra layer of protection where needed. They want to simplify everyday tasks while also helping in moments that matter the most, which means providing more options for privacy along with access to the “widest array of perspectives.”
- Google is investing in more ways to find, flag and remove Personal Identifiable Information (PII) across Google properties.This includes a new initiative to flag when your PII is used on other digital properties and alert you of it so you can address it.
- “Results About You” is the new feature that will be available to select whether you want your personal information removed from Google Search.
- Believes that everyone goes to Google to find info big and small, and the best answers come from the breadth of humans and their collective expertise and experiences. They are working on a new feature that surfaces helpful information from various convos and forums around the web, to best answer the question from peoples authentic experiences.
- Also working on a feature to surface news in different languages (translated), so that you get more information directly from the source (next month rolling out French, German and Spanish options).
6. It’s Getting Easier to Find the Food You Love
Google is getting serious about food recommendations and making it easier to find the food you love. 40% of people have a dish in mind when searching recipes online, so now you can search any dish by an image and it will figure out 1) what it is and 2) recommend where you can eat it at a restaurant nearby.
- No more digging through multiple menus to find the exact dish you're looking for. Easily snap a pic of the dish and head to a local restaurant to dig in!
- They are expanding coverage of digital menus and overlaying reviews with recommendations, so you can more easily tell how reviews relates to certain dishes. It will also bubble up the most popular dishes based on pictures submitted.
- Making it easier to find and book a reservation.
In Summary: The Future Is (Still) Local and Digital
Google is providing a more immersive, 3D experience by overlaying everyday information on top of the real world around us. I believe the future will remain local and IRL (in real life), even as digital plays a larger role in surfacing information from around the web into our local and physical worlds. Multi-location businesses who can build the infrastructure to show up locally online—and take advantage of these trends—will be the ones who win the new conscious and connected consumer.