Google is expanding its Search feature, because how boring is it to simply type what you want to know into a search bar. Pfft.
The first new feature coming under the banner of ‘Search’ is ‘Multisearch Near Me’, which allows you to search by asking Google what you see with the keyphrase “near me” to find things such as local restaurants and retailers.
Multisearch (already a feature) allows you to search text and images at the same time, similar to the way you might point to something in a store and ask someone to tell you about the jacket.
The ‘near me’ element will allow you to find a store that sells a jacket someone else is wearing that you’ve snapped a photo of. Yes, now you can take a photo of a stranger because you like what they’re wearing and search for where you can buy one. Less creepy, you can take a photo of a kebab and it will tell you where you can get your hands on a tasty snack.
“The way people search for information was never really meant to be constrained to just typing words into a search box and we actually envision a future where you can search your world any way and anywhere,” says Nick Bell, senior director of Google Search.
Local information in Multisearch will be available globally later this year in English, and will expand to more languages over time, Google confirmed during its I/O keynote this morning.
Building on this is ‘Scene Exploration’.
Currently, when you search visually with Google, it’s able to recognise objects in a single frame – a photo or a screenshot, for example – but Scene Exploration will allow you to find info about the entire scene in front of you.
Google says that in the future, with Scene Exploration, you’ll be able to use Multisearch to pan your camera and instantly glean insights about multiple objects in a wider scene.
In addition to Multisearch Near Me…
Also receiving a boost today is Google Maps (fun fact: Maps was actually developed by Denmark-born, but Sydney-based, developers, brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen). But today, the news is that Google is launching a new way to experience “the vibe” of a neighbourhood, landmark or restaurant.
‘Immersive View’ fuses together billions of Street View and aerial images to create a rich, digital model of the world. For example, you can hover over the Sydney Opera House in Maps and see detailed imagery (with a slider showing different times of the day) and glide down to street level to explore nearby restaurants and info such as busyness and nearby traffic. You can even peek inside bars to see their vibe.
Unfortunately, rollout will begin in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year, but Google says more cities are “coming soon”