Search giant Google is to test artificial intelligence (AI) technology for shopping with what it has dubbed “Search Generative Experience”, or SGE.
The aim is to make search results smarter and a small group of users will test the tech via its Search Labs with the company taking its core competence — search — and connecting shoppers with sellers in a way that’s more responsive than at present.
Google currently hosts over a billion shopping sessions daily with tens of billions of product listings, with clothing among the most-searched-for super-categories.
But searching for items can be difficult, especially when it’s not always easy to put into words exactly what a consumer is looking for. AI is intended to deal with that issue so searching should become faster and more seamless.
Essentially, the search won’t just pull up items tagged with particular words or phrases but should have a greater understanding of the intention behind the search term used.
It’s a big development and shows that AI has been a key focus for the parent company Alphabet for quite a few years. Google was beaten to the big AI headlines earlier this year by OpenAI’s ChatGPT (that’s also backed by Microsoft) with Google’s own Bard offer being compare negatively to it at the time.
But given Google’s heavy investment in AI for almost a decade, its latest move is hardly a knee-jerk reaction and its testing of the tech for shopping comes as no surprise.
It has already been using AI behind the scenes to power things like Google Lens, that helps users search using text and images. But a deeper dive into AI could improve results quality and help with more complex searches.
The development comes as fashion giants across the price spectrum are increasingly turning to AI via virtual assistants powered by ChatGPT that do more than just answer basic questions.
Director of Product for Consumer Shopping Lilian Rincon told the emergingtechbrew website that “our longer-term goal is to provide more natural and intuitive ways of getting product recommendations, and making these purchase decisions just like a personal shopper, or a knowledgeable store associate might help you when you go to the mall”.
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