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Google launches visual search tool for online shopping

Google is introducing a new way to search for online shopping items through its Google Lens tool. In the next few months, Google users will be… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Google launches visual search tool for online shopping

Google is introducing a new way to search for online shopping items through its Google Lens tool.

In the next few months, Google users will be able to use a combination of images and text in search queries.

“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,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, senior vice president, Google. “This helps when you’re looking for something that might be difficult to describe accurately with words alone.

“You could type “white floral Victorian socks,” but you might not find the exact pattern you’re looking for. By combining images and text into a single query, we’re making it easier to search visually and express your questions in more natural ways.”

The technology can also sort within videos, including on YouTube.

“Your bike has a broken thingamajig, and you need some guidance on how to fix it,” Raghavan said. “The point-and-ask mode of searching will make it easier to find the exact moment in a video that can help.”

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 ultimately lead them to Google Shopping, its rival to Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) marketplace.

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