Google’s first application of MUM in real-world search results involves using it to understand variations of searches for COVID-19 vaccine information.
MUM, which stands for Multitask Unified Model, is a new technology developed by Google to answer complex search queries.
Google first made information about MUM public back in May, saying it was in the testing stages and would be applied to search results in the coming months and years.
The company confirms MUM is now being used in search results to correctly identify over 800 keywords people enter to search for vaccines and deliver the latest trustworthy information.
“AstraZeneca, CoronaVac, Moderna, Pfizer, Sputnik and other broadly distributed vaccines all have many different names all over the world — over 800, based on our analysis. People searching for information about the vaccines may look for “Coronavaccin Pfizer,” “mRNA-1273,” “CoVaccine” — the list goes on.”
With MUM, Google was able to identify over 800 variations of vaccine names in more than 50 languages in a matter of seconds.
Without MUM, identifying all the names people use to refer to the vaccines all over the world would have taken hundreds of human hours, Google says.
After validating MUM’s findings, Google applied them to search results so that people could find timely, high-quality information about COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
“MUM was able to do a job that should take weeks in just seconds thanks to its knowledge transfer skills. MUM can learn from and transfer knowledge across the 75+ languages it’s trained on.”
What’s Next For MUM?
Vaccine search is the first and only confirmed application of MUM in search results so far.
Google expects to continue using MUM in ways that makes search more useful to people.
This may include improving on services that are already available, or using MUM to build new tools.
“This first application of MUM helped us get critical information to users around the world in a timely manner, and we’re looking forward to the many ways in which MUM can make Search more useful to people in the future.
Our early testing indicates that not only will MUM be able to improve many aspects of our existing systems, but will also help us create completely new ways to search and explore information.”
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt has an uncanny ability to make the most complex subject matter easy to understand. When he’s not ferociously following and covering the search industry, he’s busy writing SEO-friendly copy that converts.