Artificial intelligence is the foundation for all of Google’s search strategies, and on Monday the company announced new features to celebrate its twentieth anniversary.
Ben Gomes, vice president of search, news and Google Assistant, explained in a post that the company has begun to move away from answers and toward journeys, from search queries and toward query-less discovery based on artificial intelligence, and from text to more visual ways of finding content.
As part of the three fundamental shifts Gomes describes, Google is launching major updates to its search experience, including a new name, a fresh look, and a brand new set of features.
Last year, Google introduced the “feed” to serve content even when the user is not searching. More than 800 million people use the feed monthly.
Now the feed has a new name: Discover. Topic headers will explain the process that leads someone to see a particular Card in Discover before diving deeper into the theme.
Discover uses what Google calls a “topic layer” to serve related content. Other technology that uses this “topic layer” includes Activity Cards and Improved Collections. With these feathers, people searching will have the ability to save pages to their Collections section from Activity Cards.
Suggested or related topics will also appear. Tying in those related topics, Google said it will add a “topic layer” to its knowledge graph.
The Topic Layer is built by analyzing the content that exists on the web for a given topic to develop hundreds and thousands of subtopics, allowing Google to identify the most relevant articles and videos. The technology then looks for patterns to understand how these subtopics relate to each other, to more accurately serve the type of content the person searching might want to see.
Someone searching for information about a Pug dog will see different content than someone searching for information on a terrier, for example.
Since one of Google’s strategies is to move the engine away from text and toward visual, the company plans to make content more useful by adding to search results a feature called AMP stores, a visual mobile format that includes video and allows publishers to build Snapchat-like flipbooks.
Google has also announced Google Lens, a visual search tool. Similar to the Google Lens app in Google Photos and the Google Search app for iOS, Lens in Google Images will analyze and detect objects such as landmarks and clothing based on a snapshot.