Google unveils new visual search method that combines both images and text
Google users will soon be able to combine images and text in search queries, a feature unveiled Wednesday that could help the Alphabet Inc unit expand its role in e-commerce and its dominance in online video. The new feature will arrive in a few months via its Google Lens search tool, the company said in its Search On live stream. Google said in May that advances in artificial intelligence software would make this possible.
âWith this new feature, you can tap the lens icon when looking at a photo of a shirt and ask Google to find you the same design, but on another item of clothing, like socks,â said Senior Vice President Prabhakar. Raghavan said. âIt helps when you are looking for something that might be difficult to describe accurately in words alone. “
The technology also sorts videos, including on Google’s YouTube, already the Internet’s largest streaming service. âYour bike has something broken and you need some advice to fix it,â Raghavan said. “Point-and-ask search mode will make it easier to find the exact moment in a video that can help you.”
Users will be able to perform reverse image searches while surfing on the Google iOS app or the Chrome desktop browser. Selecting an image will display similar online visuals, which could help shoppers find where to buy the items seen in the photos and ultimately lead them to Google Shopping, its Amazon Marketplace rival.
Making more items searchable is another priority. Google said it is licensing a free Address Maker app to governments and organizations to map routes and assign addresses to businesses and homes that are not yet listed on Google Maps. The app could cut the time it takes for governments and organizations to assign addresses to a city from years to weeks, Google said.
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