Google expands search with a visual flair

Posted: 8 May 2019 3:32 am

Google I/O 3D Shark Image: Supplied

Pretty soon, searching for a shark on Google will have an interactive element.

Google kicked off its I/O keynote with news about its most popular product. No, not Google Wave (remember that?), but Google Search.

Google will add full coverage of news topics later this year directly within search, something that it already does with Google News itself. Podcasts will also come directly to Google search, with content-specific search and live listening within search results.

Google will also add a visual component to its search results, with 3D AR models that drop straight into search results. Google used the example of a pair of New Balance sneakers, a human skeleton, and a rather alarming model of a 3D great white shark.

Using the camera on an Android phone, you can drop the AR model into the world in front of you. There's no sign of a Pokemon-Go style capture facility for sharks though. At least not yet.

Keeping things visual, Google will also enhance its Google Lens product, with the ability to highlight menu items from a restaurant with real-time reviews and pictures of meal types. Lens will also be able to calculate tips and menu splits based on receipts if that's your style.

Google also says it's working with publishers to create embedded experiences, such as live recipe instructions within Google Lens.

It's not just for high-end Android devices, with Google Lens capabilities for low-cost Google Android Go phones also coming this year. Google used the example of an English menu being read out aloud to a person with limited literacy skills.

The demonstration showed a live sign read, as well as the ability to use Google Translate to switch to an alternative language if required. Impressively, Google says it can deliver this ability with less than 100Kb of data.

For more news from Google I/O 2019, check out our I/O 2019 news hub.

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