How Google Improved Search To Be More Immersive and Relevant

David J. Deal

Search is a foundational element of the Feedback Economy. When someone searches online for a business destination, they set in motion a chain reaction of events that influence a company’s reputation. Those events include the act of performing an initial search (“Where can I find deep dish pizza near me?”), identifying a set of answers (Giordano’s, Angelo’s Pizza, Sarpinos, etc.) and then narrowing those choices based on customer reviews (“Best deep dish pizza I’ve ever had”), along with other factors (such as proximity, price, hours of the establishment). 

google map search

When Google introduces changes to search tools, it’s important to take notice. At Google’s 2022 developer conference Google I/O, the company made a few significant ones:

More Immersive Search on Google Maps

The Google Maps app is the most popular wayfinding tool in the United States — now it’s becoming more immersive. Combining Street View with computer vision technology, Google is making it possible for searchers to experience a destination before they visit it. Instead of getting a description of a restaurant, a user can explore what a location looks like as well as the vibe of the neighborhood surrounding it.

As Google pointed out in a blog post, the feature has multiple applications such as travel/tourism. For instance, a tourist planning a trip to London can visit restaurants and hotels or experience popular sites such as Big Ben at different times of day to get a feel for what the experience will be like throughout the day of their planned visit. This information includes practical details such as how busy the streets are in the morning, afternoon, and evening. 

The Implications for Businesses

Related: 5 Google Trends to Look Out for in 2022

A Better Search Experience with Augmented Reality

Google also announced enhanced augmented reality (AR) features that help people use Google Maps when walking around. For instance, with AR, a user can display helpful arrows and directions right on top of the map they are navigating. This is especially helpful when navigating indoor areas, like airports, malls, and train stations. But there’s a lot more to the technology, Live View, than sharing arrows and directions. For instance:

The Implication for Businesses

Location-based businesses could partner with Google to develop branded AR-based customer experiences as people search. This could eventually include playing with AR-generated LEGO toys on the way to a nearby LEGO store. A family visiting a Disney theme park could even potentially use AR to visit with a Disney character to make the walk to the parking lot a bit more magical. Many more opportunities abound for branding collaborations. Take Snapchat’s AR collaboration with Taco Bell, building on the platform’s longtime use of of the technology: 

Taco Bell AR

Google Updates Eco-Friendly Routing

Google is also making Maps a more eco-friendly wayfinding tool. At Google I/O 2022, the company discussed how it launched eco-friendly routing in the United States and Canada. This feature lets users see and choose the most fuel-efficient route when looking for driving directions. Google said that people have used it to travel 86 billion miles, saving more than an estimated half a million metric tons of carbon emissions. This is equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road. Google said it is on track to double this amount as we expand to more places, like Europe.

Related: How to Remove Google Reviews: Management of Bad Feedback

The Implications for Businesses

EV Google Listing

The bottom line is that Google Search and Maps should be considered as ways to make your brand more relevant at a time when sustainability matters more than ever.

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