Writing this update in January 2024, one thing stands out to me about the below predictions. Google’s method of constantly tweaking and iterating its products with new features is effective overall, but also understandably imprecise. Many of the changes they make to Search and their other products are later rolled back or altered to increase effectiveness.
For one, Google’s Multisearch has not had a significant impact on how people search the web. In fact, there’s been very little talk about it since the feature rolled out. At the time, we questioned the feature’s usefulness and predicted Google would lean on machine learning instruction – this ended up being pretty accurate.
However, location-based features are more useful now than ever. Google has refined “Near Me” to better target users geographically, creating even more motivation for businesses to optimize their websites for geolocation in Google Search. Now is a great time to check your Google Business Profile and make sure you’re putting your best face forward for local customers!
3 Google Search Changes That Arrived in 2023
Predictions in online marketing often feel like shots in the dark, especially with the meteoric rises (and abrupt slumps) of large platforms. However, some hints were dropped recently during the Search On Google 2022 Webinar. These tidbits point toward not just the future of Google, but some possible upcoming changes in the greater digital marketing world.
Google’s Enhanced Multisearch
If you haven’t heard, Google’s Multisearch beta combines text, voice, and their reverse image search. You can now input a photo (e.g. a blue shirt) alongside a prompt (“red”), and Google will attempt to procure the synthesis of the two (a red version of the blue shirt).
It’s difficult to predict the effect of this function if it becomes popular; increased importance of images (and alt text) over text ads, perhaps. However, given the current flakiness of reverse image search, we’re uncertain how well the system will process more abstracted queries. Perhaps further machine learning instruction will improve the algorithm.
Location-based Search Live View
Google Maps has several new features lined up. The most intriguing is their improved Live View option in Maps, an augmented reality system where users hold up their phone camera and see superimposed business profiles, navigation directions, and more.
Similarly, Immersive Search View allows Maps users to take virtual tours of notable areas, but also engages predictive modeling to indicate things like street traffic and wait times at restaurants at different times of the day.
Google will also scan text and images from reviews to understand and showcase especially popular features of locations (like menu items that are often spoken about positively).
In the near future, it will behoove business owners to prioritize polishing their Google Business Profile on Google Maps and seeking positive reviews from customers.
Language Recognition and Translation
News results from other parts of the world will automatically translate for users, which isn’t so different from Google’s current semi-automated webpage translation functions. The real change will be to images: Google plans to automatically read and translate foreign language phrases and sentences appearing in pictures.
The result could be more international traffic, a double-edged sword for businesses looking for local customers. On the other hand, if your product or service isn’t language dependent, ramping up SEO-optimized content now might result in significant exposure later when this feature hits.
Google Search and Ads are complex, ever-changing systems. We’ll do our best to keep you aware of any changes, but if your online marketing isn’t performing as well as it should, we’re here for a free consultation and account audit to diagnose and fix the issue.