On May 11 2022, Google welcomed back crowds to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, after a COVID-19 interrupted 3 years.
Like many, I tuned in to listen to Google’s latest technology updates. This year, the focus of the keynote speech was to demonstrate how Google is advancing technology and computing.
With any update from Google, I always listen out for any SEO implications. Either direct updates, or how a new technology may shape the search experience differently.
So with that said, with an SEO lens, there were a few standout announcements that I am very keen to see play out:
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What is Google multisearch?
Multisearch near me is a new way to search for local information. It is where Google uses an image as a proxy, adding a “near me” query, and then serves a result for food/objects.
The example Google gave in their keynote was a food dish. Here’s how the process works.
You can quickly identify what a dish is
Automatically search for that dish with a “near me” query
Get served a list of local restaurants that offer that dish
This functionality changes how people search. It is a new way to discover:
- Information about a place or thing
- Related businesses
With multisearch, users will be able to surface information they otherwise may never have. SEOs need to think about how their content might be served in this context. Would you even appear? Do you need to further optimise and tweak your copy and landing pages to provide an optimal result for multisearch too?
What is Google scene exploration?
Using the multisearch functionality, scene exploration allows users to pan their phone camera over items to surface more information from Google.
Using natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision, Google is transforming search to be far more natural. Google’s vision for the future of search is this:
- Search any way
- Search anywhere
- Find helpful information about what you see, hear and experience
This is what scene exploration is helping to achieve.
“The way people search for information shouldn’t be constrained to typing keywords into the search box.” – Prabhakar Raghavan
Scene exploration again changes how people search. It changes how bite-sized chunks of valuable information are served to users. Think of this as a real-time “People Also Ask” result, that can be triggered on your phone simply by panning your camera over an object.
Google Assistant Conversational Upgrades
Improvements are being made to how the Google Assistant understands you. Over 700 million people use a Google Assistant every single month to complete tasks or discover information.
Update 1 – Look and Talk:
This functionality removes the old “Hey Google” activation. With Look and Talk, you can walk into a room, look at your Nest Hub and say “show me restaurants near me”.
The Nest Hub will now use facial and voice recognition to verify the user and activate without a direct prompt. Google has dubbed this “quick phrases”.
Update 2 – Natural Conversations:
Updates to Google’s speech and language models are enabling your Assistant to have more natural conversations with you.
In the demo Google gave during I/O 2022, the Assistant was able to finish sentences and converse with you during a pause. Here’s how that went:
User: “Play the new song from……..
Assistant: “mm hm”
User: “Florence…and the…something”
“Assistant: “Got it, playing Free from Florence and the Machine on Spotify”
Greater understanding and seamless integration into your day to day life will change how people search and discover information.
Voice search is just another organic discovery medium, but one that will work no matter where you are and what you are doing.
The upgrades Google has made with both “Look and Talk” and the natural language understanding take us another step closer to a better and more immersive search experience.
LaMDA 2 and PaLM
LaMDA 2 represents the most advanced conversational AI Google has released to date. It utilises a new model recently developed by Google, named PaLM (Pathways Language Model).
PaLM uses a technique called “chain of thought prompting”. This allows Google to describe multi step problems as a series of intermediate steps.
LaMDA 2 can be used to break down lists and give you tips. This has direct implications on how SEOs can conduct keywords research. You can play around with LaMDA 2 here: https://aitestkitchen.withgoogle.com/
PaLM is centred around delivering far greater accuracy and nuance in search results.
Google stated: “One day, we hope we can answer questions on more topics in any language you speak, making knowledge even more accessible, in Search and across all of Google”.
These developments lead me to believe that language barriers will eventually be broken down in search, paving the way for multi-lingual SERPs which are auto-translated.
A part of me hates to say that a huge amount of added competition is coming to SEO, but it also makes complete sense.
Cross Device Copy & Paste
Apart from just being a cool feature, cross device copy & paste is another step towards ambient computing.
With this update, you can copy a URL, an address or even a picture on your phone, and then paste that on your tablet.
Device and context does not matter.
Whether you’re talking to your assistant, typing on your computer or tapping on your phone, Google wants the technology in your life to work together seamlessly.
Ambient computing leads to ambient search. I see this tying in with traditional search on your desktop or mobile, and with the Google Assistant.
Picking up exactly where you left off regardless of device and medium (laptop, phone, assistant) creates an immersive and always on search experience.
Here’s how this could play out:
- You search for an item on your computer at home. You decide you want to buy it, so you get into your car and head to the shops.
- In your car, you activate your Google Assistant, picking up the search where you left off at home. Google Maps automatically sets the driving route to the store related to the website you were on. During the drive, via the assistant, you ask for more product review information.
- When you arrive at the shops, the search continues on your phone. Google Maps activates again and gives you walking directions to the store.
This scenario gives rise to representing the same information in multiple ways.
The 2020’s will be full of new and disruptive technologies.
Google’s search experience trajectory is one aimed at ambience. Always on. Always available and easily continued.
With that I see voice search and mobile search to continue rising heavily.
Integrations into more and more everyday things are here already. Adoption will surely follow.
For SEO, this means we need to be ready to serve the right content in the right medium, as we already do. It’s just the new mediums to keep an eye on.
For more information on the Google I/O 2022 keynote, see here: https://blog.google/technology/developers/io-2022-keynote/
For more information on Google search updates in general, check out: https://blog.google/products/search/
Stay tuned on Twitter for many more industry and search updates!
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