As displayed in the video, the new ‘Asian-owned’ attribute adds a badge to that business’ display, in both Search and Maps, which could help guide users that are looking to support minority-owned businesses in their decision-making.
The tags are optional, and are only available to businesses in the US. But they could provide a simple means to facilitate support – while businesses and products that apply the tags are also eligible to be featured on Google pages that highlight brands with specific identity attributes.
And now, there’s also an Asian-owned signifier, adding to this support capacity. Which, according to research, could be particularly relevant for Gen Z shoppers, who are more likely to seek out businesses that support causes that they align with.
And many Asian-owned businesses do indeed need support.
As per Google:
“Over the past two years, COVID-related small business closures and targeted acts of violence have reinforced the importance and impact of allyship – and have underscored how critical it is to support historically marginalized communities, including our Asian community.”
Indeed, according to research, race-based attacks on Asian Americans have increased significantly over the past two years, going from an average of 8.1 per year before 2020, to 81.5 since – more than 11 times the previous average.
That’s a trend that can’t be overlooked or ignored. Which is why this is an important update from the search giant.
In addition to this, Google’s also expanding its training and support programs for Asian-owned businesses:
“Over the past few years, Grow with Google has partnered with the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) to help Asian-owned small businesses grow. To date, we’ve helped more than 20,000 Asian-owned businesses expand their digital skills through workshops focusing on topics like e-commerce tools, design thinking for entrepreneurs and making decisions using analytics.”
Expanding on this, Grow with Google is now launching an expanded program which will provide assistance to an additional 10,000 Asian-owned small businesses, helping them learn critical digital skills to meet shifting consumer demand and activity.
It’s an important addition, because again, as Google notes, Asian businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and the surrounding angst tied back to the origins of the virus. It may seem like we, as a society, are beyond misguided criticism of this type, but recent times have shown that significant divides still remain, even if we’d prefer to think they didn’t.
These new badges are a small step in supporting minority-owned businesses, but they could play a big role in raising awareness, and fostering stronger support
Google Launches New Add-On Prompts to Guide Discovery in Search
With AI technology advancing, and changing the way that people use various apps by providing more recommendations and suggestions in process, Google has today announced a new update for Search which will provide related topics to help refine your query as you go.
As you can see in these examples, now, Google will provide a listing of related topics within your Search results, providing an easy way for users to simply tap on each and hone their results.
As per Google:
“You can add or remove topics, which are designated by a + symbol, to quickly zoom in or backtrack on a search. For example, if you’re searching for ‘dinner ideas’, you might see topics like ‘healthy’ or ‘easy’. Tapping on a topic adds it to your query, helping you quickly refine your search results with less typing.”
Google’s actually already replicated Guided Search several times, for recipes, images and within its Shopping tab. As such, this, functionally, this, functionally, isn’t anything new, but it is interesting to consider within the context of the general Google Search process, and how it might play a role in driving future discovery trends, and maximizing the functionality of the app.
Google says that the related topic listings are dynamic, and will evolve based on your behavior.
“When you conduct a search, our systems automatically display relevant topics for you based on what we understand about how people search and from analyzing content across the web. Both topics and filters are shown in the order that our systems automatically determine is most helpful for your specific query. If you don’t see a particular filter you want, you can find more using the “All filters” option, which is available at the end of the row.”
So you’ll have a few ways to refine the results, which could make it easier to skim through different ideas, and zone in on more specific areas.
In terms of SEO, that shouldn’t have a big impact, as it’s working with existing trends, so the add-on qualifiers should relate to what people are already searching for, as opposed to guided users towards new and different areas of interest.
But it could amplify existing trends, by reiterating them to more users. For example, if people who search for ‘dinner ideas’ are regularly being shown ‘healthy’ as an add-on, that could make ‘healthy dinner ideas’ a bigger search trend over time, as more people lean into such because of these prompts, as opposed to taking whatever results they would have got without the add-on term.
So it could guide user behavior towards more common trends. Which shouldn’t have a big impact, but could, again, help to make the most common trends even more significant.
Maybe that has an impact on long-tail search terms and more specific trends, as people stop getting more granular – but that also supposes that a lot of people end up using these add-on terms, which we don’t know will happen as yet.
As noted, AI and machine learning-based systems are becoming more common elements in guiding user behavior online, with newer systems like ChatGPT potentially even besting Google for more in-depth answers to user prompts, based on various web-based inputs. Some believe that these systems could actually disrupt Google’s hold on the Search ecosystem, and as such, it’s not really surprising to see Google looking to add more guided elements into search to lean into this shift.
It’ll be interesting to see how these systems evolve, and whether they do indeed lead to the rise of a new challenger in Search and discovery.
Before that happens, you can bet that Google will add in more tools and options to enhance its processes.
The new Google add-on prompts are being rolled out to US users from this week, with other regions to follow.