Google Expands Visual Search in Latest Shopping Push


Retail Dive | October 20, 2020


Google unveiled several search-based features, including two aimed at helping people shop for everything from cars to clothing. As part of its virtual "Search On" event, Google touted its AR Autos feature and an upgraded visual search tool that matches items to products sold online, per a company blog post.


Google's various shopping-oriented features are significant to mobile marketers in different ways, especially as many people seek to limit in-person contact during the coronavirus pandemic.


AR Autos soon will let customers look for a vehicle in Google Search and will be able to instantly see how the vehicle looks in different colors and zoom in to inspect features like dashboard buttons. Google Lens, the company's image-recognition tool, lets people tap and hold an image in the Google app or Chrome browser to find it in online stores. For clothing items, the search results include style suggestions in images from websites and social media platforms.


The updates to Google Lens mean that mobile marketers need to optimize their websites for visual discovery by the search giant's algorithms. Google Lens has expanded to identify 15 billion items, an increase of 15 times in the past two years, which means that a broader variety of brands and retailers can showcase their products in visual search results. It's also possible that Google will eventually let marketers buy visual search criteria the same way they can bid for keywords in Google Search to show up at the top of search results.


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