30th September 2022

POV: Google’s ‘Search On’ Event


Google held its ‘Search On’ event this week providing an update on some of its latest features and tools, including new ways to visually search, explore the world around you and shop more easily. Here are some of the highlights.

Details and Implications:

Search updates: The ‘multisearch’ service that allows users to search with text and images simultaneously will be expanding to other regions after having initially launched for testing in the US in April. The beta will now extend to over 70 languages. Additionally, the new ‘multisearch near me’ feature will be rolling out soon in the US which means users can take a picture of an item to search and then find it nearby instantly.

One of the biggest changes is the visual makeover to search results, depending on the query, which might appeal to the TikTok generation. If for example you search for a place, the results will be a far more visual experience displayed in a continuous scroll of tiles, with info such as maps and weather interspersed with media and imagery. It will pull in information in a variety of formats and from a variety of sources including Instagram, TikTok and YouTube Shorts.

There is also an ‘explore’ feature that will help users discover related things they may not have thought about. The most relevant content to their search will be displayed first but as they continue scrolling, they’ll see results inspired by related topics to their search.

New features for Maps: Google is introducing several Maps updates, the most notable is the feature called ‘Neighbourhood Vibe’ which is designed to give users the feel for a neighbourhood right in the Maps app. It will combine AI with photos and information from the local Google Maps community to give you an idea of the popular places in the area.

New shopping tools: Google is looking to revamp shopping and make it more fun for consumers. Firstly, it is moving shopping features directly into its main search bar, removing the need for the Shopping tab.

A new ‘Shop the look’ feature is a more visual shopping experience that is coming first to the US. If a user types ‘Shop’ followed by a product name it will automatically return a set of visual results and tools e.g. shoppable products and availability in nearby stores, alongside lifestyle imagery and guides. There will also be suggestions to complete the look, and trending products in the same category.

Another feature, again initially for users in the US, is new buying guides aimed at helping people with more complex buying decisions who usually do a lot of research first. The guides will aggregate information from multiple trusted sources. Additionally, a ‘Page Insights’ tool in the Google app will enable consumers to find out more about the pros and cons of products on a website, and opt-in to receive price drop notifications.

Opt-in personalisation is also coming to Google Shopping later this year, initially to the US. Consumers can directly choose to opt-in to personalise their shopping experience and can switch the feature on or off at any time. This feature was prompted by Google’s user research that revealed they were frustrated with seeing irrelevant search results.

Finally, new shopping filters that appear on pages as you search for products will adapt to real-time trends. If you are searching for jeans you may see filters for "wide-leg" and "bootcut" because they're popular at that time. These ‘dynamic filters’ are available in US, Japan, and India and will roll out to more regions in future

The expectation for these changes, is they will help facilitate a more engaging and seamless user experience within the Google search engine/ecosystem, in turn providing advertisers with greater revenue opportunities. Insightful product information coupled with shopping personalisation capabilities is likely to lead to greater engagement/conversion rates and customer retention potential; this is further enhanced by the consolidation of search and shopping results into the main SERP.


Google has acknowledged that search habits are evolving and what has worked for previous generations needs to adapt to be as successful for GenZ. Younger users are searching on platforms like Instagram and TikTok for products and places to go, so Google is adapting its own offering to a more visual and continually scrolling approach. The company is also trying to make Google a one stop shopping destination. Brands will need to make sure their ads, images, merchant accounts and online stores are ready for all these new features.

Further Reading:

Social Media Today | Search Engine Journal | TechCrunch | The Verge | Google Blog

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