Google announces news in search, translation, music identification, maps and augmented reality

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Image: Nathana Rebouças / Unsplash

In recent years, Google has ceased to be a mere search engine to answer various types of questions (or try to answer, at least) and get information without the user having to go to other sites or download applications.

In its virtual Search On event, held this Thursday afternoon (15) and broadcast over the internet, the company presented more resources that will be incorporated to discover the name of songs, obtain public data and help when shopping – and every now and then enter a page or another. The key to all this is artificial intelligence, a term that is very fashionable.

Specific searches and broad searches

With artificial intelligence, Google hopes to improve the results of both specific searches and broad and generic requests.

Image showing the before and after of the change in specific searches. A search on how to know if windows have UV protection before returned a generic link on UV protection on windows. Now, it returns a specific result showing how to know if a window has UV protection.

In the first case, the search engine will start indexing not only complete pages, but also page sections. According to Google, this will improve the results of 7% of searches when it is available globally.

In the case of broad and generic searches, the search engine will use AI to better understand the subtopics of the results to give better directions, even if they were not typed by the user at first.

As well? In the example given in the presentation, the search for “fitness equipment” could have, in the results, suggestions of equipment for those who do not want to spend a lot or for those who have little space at home. Thus, those who sought can already go straight to what most satisfies their needs, even if they have not thought about it beforehand.

Data and video

Google will also use AI to index content that is not available in text, such as video results and data.

In the video part, you must have already looked for information that was in a tutorial on YouTube, but I wanted to know only a specific part. The search engine will try to better understand the videos and give you the option to skip straight to what matters. This was already being tested and will be available to everyone soon. Google estimates that the novelty will appear in 10% of searches.

Google screen with a search for the best moments of a baseball game. In the second video result, there is a timeline with several points and comics from different moments of that video.

In data, Google has partnered with several institutions, such as the US Census, the World Bank and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention to provide more accurate answers to questions involving social and economic indicators, such as jobs and income in cities, states and countries.

Google mobile screen with a search asking how many people work in Chicago. In the results, a number of the employed population in Chicago is highlighted (1.134 million), as well as a timeline showing the evolution of this data and comparing it with Boston and Philadelphia.

Another initiative involving data is Pinpoint, which is part of a Google platform for journalists. With it, several public documents from various sources will be available for searching in one place, and it is even possible to search within each one thanks to character recognition.

Google Lens

Speaking of character recognition, Google Lens, a search application that uses the phone’s camera, will gain many features. With it, it will be possible to scan texts in foreign languages ​​and listen to the correct pronunciation of the words, which should greatly facilitate the life of those who are studying another language.

GIF shows a second degree equation being scanned and solved by the Google Lens app.

He also promises a helping hand for parents who need to help their children with their homework, with an equation recognition with the camera, which will lead to a solution containing even step by step to solve the problem.

GIF shows a photo being read by the Google Lens app. The blouse worn by the girl in the image is searched for, and Google returns several similar blouses.

Another feature that Google Lens is expected to gain soon is clothing recognition. With that, it will be possible to scan a photo of a person in a magazine or use Chrome’s integrated search and find that look (or a similar one, at least) in stores, as well as suggestions to match. Simply chic.

A Volvo car model appears spinning in 3D on the Google app screen. It is possible to change the color of the vehicle.

Google also wants to help automakers sell cars using augmented reality. Thus, it will be possible to view 3D models of several cars, including the interior, using the cell phone, as well as change the colors and even see how it would look in your garage.

Music, even if you can’t sing

The search engine wants to help you even when you heard a song you don’t know but it doesn’t leave your head. Soon, it will be possible to hum or whistle a piece of the song and Google will take care of trying to find out what it is – similar to a feature that SoundHound has had for years.

Pandemic

The company also presented some of its initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maps, for example, now shows whether beaches and parks are crowded or not – before that information was restricted to commercial establishments such as shopping malls and restaurants. This information will also start to appear on maps before the user even selects a place. In addition, the application also reports on mask requirements and changes in attendance.

The Google Maps screen shows locations and information about whether there are a few or many people in them at the moment.

In addition, the company said it used its artificial intelligence for phone calls, the Duplex, to check for changes in the opening hours and operation of establishments because of the pandemic. The robot – which was introduced a few years ago – would dial stores and restaurants and ask what had changed to update the information on the platform.

Two pages of the same establishment show whether it is open for on-site meals and health requirements, such as temperature measurement, use of a mask and mandatory advance reservation.

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