21st May 2021

POV: Google I/O 2021 and Snap Partner Summit


This week, Google’s I/O Developer Conference and Snap’s Partner Summit took place. Both companies announced a number of updates. Here are the highlights.

Details and Implications:

Google: In its first event for two years, Google revealed details about its Shopping Graph, the real-time dataset that connects shoppers with billions of products. It integrates information from websites, prices, reviews, videos and product data directly from brands and retailers and is designed to show users relevant listings as they shop across Google. For example, if you view an image of a product in Google Photos, there will be a suggestion to search the photo with Lens. Another new feature in Chrome that works on your local machine, will allow users to see any open shopping carts when opening a new tab. Google also said soon uses will be able to link their favourite loyalty programs to their Google account.

The company also announced an expanded partnership with Shopify that would enable Shopify’s 1.7 million merchants to be more discoverable in Google Search and other Google services. For merchants that sign up, products could appear across Google’s one billion shopping journey’s each day from Search to Maps, Images to Lens and YouTube.

Google is also working on new tools to improve search results, pulling data from text images and videos to answer more complex questions and it is adding “about this result” to all English search results worldwide with key information and context. The company also introduced LaMDA, a natural language programme that is still in R&D, it aims to make conversations and searches more natural and have the ability to answer more open-ended questions.

Snap: The company’s event this year was also focused on shopping. Announcements included updated ecommerce capabilities and the ability to virtually try on items as well as demonstrations of numerous new ways for brands and creators to take full advantage of the Snap camera.

Scan, which analyses content in a user’s camera feed to serve information, has around 170 million users each month and is now more prominent with a Scan button on the camera home screen and has enhanced commerce capabilities with a new feature called Screen Shop. This feature enables a user to scan a friend’s outfit and be shown shopping recommendations from hundreds of brands.

Snapchat announced that profiles for brands was now officially out of beta. These permanent destinations let brands showcase their lenses, highlights and Stories, as well as enable users to browse, try on and buy items directly via the profile.

Snapchat also showcased how its AR technology has evolved to make products appear more lifelike and make trying on clothing virtually more realistic using Snapchat’s 3D body scanning technology that has been tested by luxury retail platform Farfetch. Snap will also offer AR shopping analytics to provide lens performance insights and inform how Snapchatters are using a brands’ virtual products.

Snap talked about how it wants to “focus on building experiences around shopping" and shared that developers are creating shopping environments through “mini” apps. An example given was clothing resale site Poshmark, that has built a social shopping app for consumers to host “Posh Parties”.

The company revealed that Snapchat now has over 500 million monthly active users and that 40% of its community is outside North America and Europe.


Once again, the focus was the collision of media and commerce. Google is trying to make it easier and more useful for consumers to find and shop via Google and Snapchat showed how it is building a digital version of the real world within its camera and Snap Maps, enabling commerce inside the app and enabling brands to incorporate augmented reality into their Snapchat profiles to reach consumers in this virtual shopping world.

Further Reading: CNN | Search Engine Land | TechCrunch | Adweek |

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