Google to offer images and text-based search to grow role in e-commerce

Google has unveiled a new feature enabling users to do images and text-based search that could help the Alphabet unit expand its role in e-commerce and dominance in online video.
Google developers
The new feature will arrive within months through its Google Lens search tool, the company said in its livestreamed Search On conference. Google said in May that advances in artificial intelligence software would make this possible.

“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,” Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said.

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

The technology also sorts within videos, including on Google’s YouTube, already the internet’s biggest streaming service.

Users will be able to run reverse-image searches when surfing on the Google iOS app or the Chrome desktop browser. Selecting an image will pull up similar online visuals, which could help shoppers find where to buy items seen in photos and lead them to Google Shopping. Google Shopping competes with Amazon.com’s marketplace.

Google said it was licensing a free Address Maker app to governments and organizations to map routes and assign addresses to businesses and homes not yet listed on Google Maps. The app could reduce the time it takes governments and organizations to assign addresses for a town from years to weeks, Google said.