New Google Features: Multisearch and Augmented Reality

Last month, Google announced a number of exciting new features that make the search engine even more interactive and helpful. While many of these are currently only available as beta features in the US, once they’ve had a successful introduction there, you can be sure to start seeing them in UK search.

This gives UK businesses a great opportunity to get ahead of understanding what’s available, how it works, and what can be done to make the most of the new opportunities.

Multisearch

Finding items to buy with Google Lens

Google Search is becoming even more powerful with the introduction of multisearch, which combines image and text search to provide more specific results.

The function allows users to take a photo with Google Lens in order to search for a product they’ve found, either in real life or online. Google Lens will find the same or similar items across the internet.

This function in itself is already incredibly useful. But then the user can get more specific by selecting a new Add to your search button and including text as part of that search. Text could include phrases such as ‘near me’ for the product sold nearby, a colour to find a similar product in an alternative colour, or an item name to discover a piece of furniture that matches your current set.

What you can do to prepare: As a business, it’s always important to include plenty of detail about your products and services, as well as good and varied imagery. Multisearch makes this even more important as users make more detailed searches.

Ensure your products have plenty of images from all different angles, and provide full details of products and services, including locations sold, colour options, and technical info.

You may find the following guides useful:

Google Lens Translate

Text translated from Spanish to English on Google Lens
Text translated from Spanish to English on Google Lens

Translate on Google Lens allows you to see text translations in real time. Currently, the translated text is overlaid on the original with a blurred background. With the update, the translated text will still be overlaid, but without the blurred background, providing a slicker experience.

Augmented Reality Shoes

Orange and white sneaker

You will now be able to see shoes in Augmented Reality (AR) – that is, as if they were really sitting in front of you. Using your phone camera, ‘place’ the footwear in front of you so you can see them up close in your space.

This function is already available for home goods such as furniture, and the shoe upgrade only currently works for sneakers. However, Google is expanding its AR offering hints at where things are going and you’re likely to see a wider range of more sophisticated AR going forward.

What you can do to prepare: For products to be eligible for augmented reality, you need to have 3D models available and attached to your Merchant Centre listing. This additional visualisation allows your customers to get a better feel for your product and make more informed decisions, prompting better sales and management of expectations. Even though Google’s AR products are currently limited, preparing now means you’ll be ready when options expand, giving you a head start on competitors.

Augmented Reality for Beauty


Make-up – especially foundation – can be tough to sell online. Without being able to tell how a product will look on their own face, users are more likely to shop offline or return products.

Google, however, is moving towards a more usable shopping experience. In November, it announced an expanded catalogue of model photos so that shoppers can see how foundation may look on a face that more closely matches their own. Models have a range of face shapes, ethnicities, skin tones and more, and users can view before and after images for comparison.

The changes mean that users can more confidently buy foundation online, providing beauty businesses the opportunity to expand beyond local brick and mortar sales. When testing products, users are provided with a list of retailers they can buy from.

What you can do to prepare: This AR is available when users search for specific products. So make sure your product listings hold plenty of information including full brand names, shades and skin types. The retailers listed alongside preview images are currently organic listings, so work on your website’s overall SEO to ensure you rank as highly as possible.

Maps Live View Search

Google Maps live view

When you use Google Maps, you can see what’s nearby: from shops and restaurants to attractions and landmarks. A search will also bring up the locations of what you’re specifically seeking, all on an overhead map view.

With Augmented Reality, Google is now bringing a more interactive upgrade to this functionality. Hold your phone up while in Google Maps, select the camera icon, and see your surroundings with pointers indicating what’s where. AR directions and arrows help you see how far away each is, and how you can get there. And you can see other useful information such as whether places are open and how busy they currently are.

This is one of the few new functions that is already available in parts of the UK (London, at the time of writing) so we can expect to see it in other big cities and then further afield in a while.

What you can do to prepare: This information is based on your Google Business Manager listing. If you have a physical store, make sure your free listing is fully optimised and updated regularly.

Conclusion

While many of Google’s most recent features will first be rolled out in the US, we can see what’s happening from here in the UK and plan for when the changes make it over the Atlantic. While we don’t have the functionality so early, we have the advantage of being pre-warned and prepared.

Whenever there are updates such as these, it’s good to check how this might impact your business and what you can do to make the most of any changes. From these November updates, there are plenty of opportunities to optimise product listings, Google Business Manager listings and your website as a whole. By acting now, you can hit the ground running when the updates hit the UK.

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