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Google MUM is Coming to Lens via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google announced that their next generation super algorithm MUM is coming to their Google Lens product. This fulfills the promise of MUM which allows a user to search not just with text but with images as well.

This event will impact informational publishers and if more consumers use Google Lens as a result then this could be a boon to ecommerce companies as an important new sales channel.

Google’s Announcements About MUM

Google made an informal announcement on Twitter about MUM coming to Google Lens and also published an article about AI and visual search.

The article provides an example of the advanced search capabilities that are coming to the Google Lens app:

“With this new capability, you can tap on the Lens icon when you’re looking at a picture of a shirt, and ask Google to find you the same pattern — but on another article of clothing, like socks.

This helps when you’re looking for something that might be difficult to describe accurately with words alone.

You could type “white floral Victorian socks,” but you might not find the exact pattern you’re looking for. By combining images and text into a single query, we’re making it easier to search visually and express your questions in more natural ways.”

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Screenshot Showing How Google MUM Finds Answers

Screenshot Google MUM

Screenshot Google MUM

Google Lens

Google Lens is Google’s image search app for Android and iOS. It allows users to accomplish multiple image-based search tasks.

Typical Google Lens Tasks

  • Scan Text, including phone numbers and event details to add to a calendar
  • Translate text
  • Copy and send text
  • Identify plants and animals
  • Search for similar products

The product search function is an important one because it allows online merchants to surface their products in Google Lens.

Google published a brand new ecommerce best practices SEO guide on September 28th that highlights Google Lens:

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Google Lens
If you want your products to be found in Google Lens search results, make sure your product details are uploaded to Google Merchant Center, opt in to free product listings, and follow the Google Image best practices.”

Google MUM Algorithm

Google’s MUM algorithm allows users to conduct complicated searches that cannot ordinarily be answered with traditional search queries.

An important innovation in MUM is that it can take images instead of keywords as an input.

So instead of searching with just keywords a searcher can conduct searches with an image.

Remarkably, the algorithm is not limited to searching for the answer in one language. Google’s MUM algorithm can search for a complex answer across many popular languages in order to show the most helpful answer.

Google MUM is Coming to Google Lens

It’s not surprising that Google MUM is coming to the Lens product, it’s a natural fit and was inevitable to integrate the MUM algorithms into Google Lens.

According to today’s announcement:

“MUM, our advanced AI model, is coming to #GoogleLens early next year. You’ll be able to snap a photo AND ask a question, which can be helpful in those moments you need to fix a broken part and have no idea what it is”

The announcement was tweeted and was accompanied by an animated GIF showing a person snapping a photo of a bicycle part and typing the words “how to fix” in an accompanying search box.

No Firm Date For When Google MUM Comes to Lens

MUM is scheduled to arrive in early 2022. That’s all the information that has been shared.

This will be the first widespread implementation of the new technology and could be seen as the opening act for a wider implementation, with the ultimate application arriving on Google’s search box.

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Google has been conservative about how MUM will be implemented and has been explicit that any implementation of this technology will respect publishers.

Publisher Fear of Google MUM

Some publishers don’t trust Google and fear that MUM will use their information and not send traffic to them by simply displaying the information.

This situation where Google displays publisher information without sending traffic is called a zero click search.

Google MUM Does Not Result in Zero Click Search

This implementation of MUM does not appear to display publisher information without attribution. The animated GIF accompanying the announcement clearly shows a searcher looking for information and being directed directly to a website.

Screenshot of Google MUM Search

Example of Google MUM Search

Example of Google MUM Search

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That should be good news for publishers who worry about how Google uses their web page information.

Google Lens and Shopping

Additionally, the addition of MUM should also be welcome news to ecommerce publishers who may continue to be able to surface their products in the new Google Lens search experience.

As mentioned earlier, if more consumers use Google Lens because of MUM then this can mean more consumers using Lens for shopping.

The animated GIF illustrating the new MUM experience clearly shows that shopping is prioritized.

Screenshot Showing Google Lens Search Experience

MUM Lens Prioritizes Shopping

MUM Lens Prioritizes Shopping

Google MUM Comes to Google Lens

This introduction of MUM is very important. It points to a future version of search that is beginning to become untethered from the keyword based question and answer box and moving further along the path toward the paradigm of an assistant that can help people do things.

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Citation

Read Google’s Explainer on Searching With MUM

How AI is Making Information More Useful

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

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