Google tunes search for prescience and pictures

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San Francisco | Published: September 25, 2018 8:08:14 AM

Google unveiled changes Monday aimed at making the leading search engine more visual and intuitive to the point it can answer questions before being asked.

Google tunes search for prescience and pictures (Reuters)

Google unveiled changes Monday aimed at making the leading search engine more visual and intuitive to the point it can answer questions before being asked. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are core drivers of how Google will pursue its 20-year-old mission to organise the world’s information and make it accessible to anyone, search vice president Ben Gomes said at an event in San Francisco.

The search engine focussed strongly on mobile use and appeared to be growing more like Facebook, encouraging users to linger and explore topics, interests or stories with an increasing emphasis on photos and videos. Results will be increasingly personalised. “Search is not perfect, and we are under no illusions it is,” Gomes said. “But, you have our commitment that we will make it better every day.”

He described the latest changes as shifting from answers to journeys, providing ways to target queries without knowing what words to use and enhancing image-based searches.

Google Images was redesigned to weave in “Lens” technology that enables queries based on what is pointed out in pictures. The Images overhaul includes carousels of online video clip highlights displayed with mobile search query results.

New Activity Cards will let users pick up searches where they left off, eliminating the need to retrace online steps. The search engine will also let users create Collections of online content, and suggest related material that might be of interest.

A Google feed used by more than 800 million people monthly is getting a new name, Discover, an increased ability to offer people relevant information they are likely to want but have not thought to ask for yet. The feature was described as “Google search helping you discover new things without a query”.

Google said it is also testing out an improvement to its job-related search results that will figure out what skills are needed for such posts and information about how to acquire them. “Information and language are core to what we are as human beings,” Gomes said. “Our work here is never done.”

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