Google debuts new AI shopping tools to compete with Amazon
At its annual Search On event, the internet giant announced nine new features designed to help provide a more immersive shopping experience.
Google is hardening its pitch against Amazon with new AI-powered shopping tools / The Drum
Google has beefed up its shopping capabilities to rival Amazon, with the announcement of AI- and machine learning-powered tools that deliver more personalized and visually-engaging results, product information and suggestions.
The updates are largely aimed at providing consumers with more visual and experiential modes to shop.
Simplified search-based shopping: US users can now search “shop” in combination with a given product (eg “shop office chairs”). In response, they’ll be taken to a shoppable visual feed of products and also gain visibility into real inventory in stores near them. The feature is currently mobile-only, but will be available on desktop soon.
Shoppable looks: When shopping for clothes on Google, users can now “shop the look” when they see an outfit they like. In response, Google will surface images of similar styles linked to online stores where consumers can make the purchase.
Trending products section: Google will include a new section in Search that displays popular products that are currently trending.
3D shopping for sneakers: Following the debut of 3D image-based shopping for home goods in Google Search earlier this year, the tech company is now rolling out 3D shopping for shoes, feature automated 360-degree rotation visuals. With technological advancements in Google’s machine learning capabilities, Google plans to expand the tool further in the future to include more types of products. It is especially keen considering that users engage in 3D images nearly 50% more than static images.
Buying guides: To help shoppers narrow down their options, Google is rolling out a new buying guide that consolidates useful information about a given product category from a variety of sources across the web. The buying guide, for example, may display information about the dimensions and materials of a given product to help consumers make the most informed decisions possible. The feature is only available in the US as of now.
Page insights: This new feature gives shoppers a view into what other consumers think of a given product. Available in the Google app, the tool makes star ratings visible for a webpage or a product that a user is viewing – all within the same interface. It also notifies users about price changes. This feature will be made available in the US in the coming months.
Personalized results: Using AI and machine learning tools, Google Search will soon provide users more tailored shopping results based on their past purchases and shopping habits. Users will be given controls to set their preferences or disable the feature entirely. The update will be made available to US users later this year.
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New filters: New dynamic filters are coming to Search. At the top of a results page, users will see options to filter for a range of options, including styles, price ranges and whether or not a product is available at nearby stores. The new filters adapt in real-time based on user behavior. Available now in the US, India and Japan, the filters will hit other markets in the future.
New discovery tools: Adding to the lineup of personalized shopping tools are new recommended products that will appear in the Discover section of the Google app. Here, users will see suggested products based on previous shopping habits and the habits of others like them. Users can simply tap an image, then use Google Lens to find out where to buy.
All of Google’s new shopping features are powered by the company’s Shopping Graph, an AI-based model that surfaces suggested products personalized to individual users. According to Google, Shopping Graph is smarter than ever; it has an understanding of over 35bn product listings – representing a 37% increase since last year.
Why it matters
These are the latest in a slew of shopping updates that Google has made in the past year. For example, in April, the company debuted multisearch, an immersive feature that enables users to combine image-based search with keywords to find the ideal product.
Google’s ongoing investment in commerce technology aims to help the tech giant better compete with Amazon, which in 2022 will own nearly 40% of the total US e-commerce market, per data from eMarketer.
“The commerce landscape has evolved immensely over the past year,” notes Jennifer Shambroom, chief marketer at Clickatell, a chat- and SMS-focused commerce company.
“We’ve seen social platforms like Instagram and TikTok work to win over consumers through new, interactive shopping capabilities and effectively meet them where they are in their daily lives. It’s no surprise Google is rolling out new shopping features as well – especially after TikTok has been coined the ‘new Google’ for younger generations. Regardless of where consumers are shopping, this holiday season will be a telltale sign of how receptive they are to new virtual and visual features.”