Here’s an AI tool you might not have thought of: Google’s AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE) got a series of updates this December, including a feature that lets you build a product from scratch using artificial intelligence and then search the web. something similar that exists in the real world.
“We’re introducing a new way to put the item on your mind directly in your shopping cart with AI-powered image generation to purchase,” said Julie Black, product manager for consumer shopping on Google, in a blog post. “Soon, when you use SGE to search for clothing, you’ll have the option to create photorealistic images inspired by the words you’re searching for and buy products that match those images.”
For example, let’s say you are shopping for a winter coat. You type it, and Google generates an image that you can modify with additional prompts, like “more colorful” or “give it a shiny metallic finish.” When you’re done, Google Image Recognition will search the 35 billion products connected to Google’s shopping tool and find the closest item on the web.
This new update comes with several other AI updates for Google Shopping tools, some of which are available immediately. For users who opt in, Google will suggest other AI-generated gift ideas based on your search terms to inspire you. If you’re shopping for a hobby chef but don’t know what to look for, you can write “great gifts for home cooks.” Google will make AI-powered suggestions such as special tools, artisanal ingredients, culinary subscriptions, or experiences such as cooking classes.
There is also a new virtual test-at-home feature. That tool has been available for women for a while, but now Google has expanded it to men’s blouses. Enter that phrase, and the company pulls results from participating brands, including Abercrombie, Banana Republic, J.Crew, and Under Armour, and offers you a “try” button. Google then shows you AI-generated images of models wearing the clothes. You can choose from a selection of models who look like you based on factors such as body type and skin tone.
Google SGE is only available if you enable it. Eligible users (there are many restrictions) can check it out here.
These three tools are an early glimpse of the promised revolution that AI should bring to observing things on the Internet. In the early days of ChatGPT, there was widespread conversation about the threat AI posed to Google’s search business. It is largely calmed down, but there is a real idea lurking behind.
Google Search (and many of its competitors) organizes the Web in a specific way, primarily based on identifying keywords on a page. To find what you’re looking for, you need to put your query in words that Google understands. In fact, we are giving our thoughts to a computer. The long-term vision for AI is that computers will eventually be able to speak our language and analyze the true meaning of the words on a page, so you can ask questions the same way you would talk to another person. If anyone can make that dream come true, the Internet will come back and take the world with it.
These new Google shopping tools look like fun. Maybe they’re useful, or maybe they’re just tricks. Either way, they will be an important look into the future.