Google’s adding a new gift recommendation element into its AI-based search generative experience (SGE), which is designed to help users find more relevant product matches in the holiday push.
As you can see in this example, Google’s new generative search recommendations will provide you with a range of gift ideas and overviews in different categories, based on your original query.
As explained by Google:
“Let’s say you’re looking for a present for the budding chef in your life and don’t know where to start. Search “great gifts for home cooks”, and you’ll now see a wide variety of subcategories to explore – like specialty tools, artisanal ingredients, culinary subscriptions and even experiences like cooking classes — with options from brands large and small. Just tap into a category to browse shoppable gift options and select a product to buy.”
Which seems like maybe you don’t really need AI for that, right? Like, Google would know all the different products and categories that are in demand without the need for an AI-based system, and it could just show you those recommendations in order, based on relative search interest and engagement.
So what value does AI bring in this case?
“SGE is designed as a jumping-off point to explore the web. You’ll see links to helpful content from publishers front and center, so you can easily click through to a website to learn more about a product or gift category. In fact, with SGE we’re showing more links, and links to a wider range of sources, creating new opportunities for content to be discovered. And as we’ve shared, Search and Shopping ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page.”
Yeah, I’m not sure that it’ll add a heap of additional assistance, on top of Google’s existing Search tools, but maybe, if the recommendations and discovery pathways are more defined, it could be a good way to find relevant gift ideas, based on more conversational prompts, which seems like the real value of AI in this experience.
In addition to this, Google’s also experimenting with another generative AI element in Search that will enable you to better visualize and find what you’re looking for.
“Soon when you use SGE to look for apparel, you’ll have the option to generate photorealistic images inspired by the words you search – and shop products that match those images.”
As you can see in this sequence, using Google’s new generative AI image tools, you’ll be able to generate visuals of what you want, and even enter in additional customization prompts to further refine the images displayed. And below those examples, you’ll see a scrollable listing of matching products, relative to your generated visuals, that you’ll then be able to buy, further customizing your shopping search.
It could be a good way to use AI as a complementary element to get to the actual product you want, while it also adds an element of fun into the process.
Finally, Google’s also expanding its new virtual try-on elements to men’s tops, which will provide you with examples of how different clothes look on models that are more aligned to your size and dimensions.
That could help in giving you a better idea of what that shirt will look like on you, though results will vary in this respect.
These are some handy additions, which will help to further integrate generative AI into Google’s Search experience. Which Google really needs to do, as more people turn to other tools like ChatGPT to conduct more semantic, conversational searches.
Google’s new gift recommendations will be made available to U.S.-based mobile users who’ve opted into the SGE experiment, starting in December, while its generative AI image search is available to SGE users from today, on mobile and the web.
You can sign up for SGE here (if available in your region).