Google I/O 2023, held at the grand Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, brought together tech enthusiasts, developers, and industry leaders from around the globe. The much-anticipated event took place on May 10th and showcased the latest innovations and advancements from Google across their ecosystem. With a focus on cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence, and more, Google I/O 2023 provided a platform for attendees to explore the future of technology and gain insights into Google’s vision for 2023 and beyond.
Let’s take a look at a few of the top announcements from the event and how these innovations might impact marketers in the future.
Google’s Bard Goes Wide Release and Gets a Major Upgrade
OpenAI and ChatGPT might have stolen the spotlight earlier this year, but Google was quietly waiting to make its counter-move with big updates to Bard, Google’s experiment for conversational AI. Bard launched back in March, but Google revealed it is now available to everyone as the waitlist has been removed. Bard is now open to more than 180 countries and territories and its language support has increased from three languages to 40 languages. Along with it’s wide release, Google announced a slew of additional features and updates to Bard including:
- Multimodal functionality (meaning it’s capable of generating images from a text prompt)
- Code generation and improved coding features
- Exporting creations to Google Docs and Gmail while keeping their formatting
- Integration with Google apps and services, including Google Maps, Sheets, and Lens
- Added support for dark mode (and the crowd goes wild – literally – the audience at Google I/O cheered for this simple, yet exciting update)
Google Experiments With an AI-powered Conversational Mode for Search
During the conference, Google demonstrated the long awaited Project Magi, Google’s plan to integrate AI into search. Search Generative Experience (SGE) is a new experiment that Google plans on rolling out in the near future and it was undoubtedly one of the biggest announcements during Google I/O 2023. During their demonstration, Google showed how, in the future, when you type in a search query, they will provide you with an AI-powered snapshot above the search results listings in response. But Google takes it even further with conversational mode.
“With the advent of conversational AI, Google will be more than just a search engine; it will be a conversational companion that understands our intentions, empowers us with information, and simplifies our digital interactions. The dawn of this new era will transform search, bringing us closer to a future where information is organized, accessible, and delivered in a conversational manner.”
— Nirish Parsad, Practice Lead, Emerging Tech at Tinuiti
Conversational mode will suggest next steps when conducting a search and display an AI-powered snapshot of key information to consider. Google shared the following example to show this new technology in action…
“Let’s take a question like “what’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, bryce canyon or arches.” Normally, you might break this one question down into smaller ones, sort through the vast information available, and start to piece things together yourself. With generative AI, Search can do some of that heavy lifting for you. You’ll see an AI-powered snapshot of key information to consider, with links to dig deeper.
Below this snapshot, you’ll see suggested next steps, including the ability to ask follow-up questions, like “How long to spend at Bryce Canyon with kids?” When you tap on these, it takes you to a new conversational mode, where you can ask Google more about the topic you’re exploring.”
Sure, this new technology is great for consumers, but what does AI mean for the future of SEO? Kris Wong, Senior Director of SEO, at Tinuiti weighs in…
“Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) isn’t even here yet, but it’s already causing an uproar in the Search community. Many are worried that this will make SEO obsolete, but that’s really not the case. Every year, Google tests or rolls out new features that makes marketers and brands question “Is SEO dead?” when in reality the value of SEO isn’t going anywhere.”
— Kris Wong, Senior Director of SEO, at Tinuiti
While SEO isn’t going anywhere, Wong explains how the content brands create will be more important than ever before…
“SGE makes it clear that organic search is not just about target keywords and content creation, but rather a holistic, full-funnel search strategy covering the breadth of a category/theme. Making sure that a client’s content fulfills non-branded, informative queries down to branded product pages is key. SGE provides marketers with a reminder to think audience-first. If your content is authoritative and informational, you’re more likely to have content from your site cited for a snapshot.”
According to Wong, leaning in more for image search and optimizing titles may help with CTR if you are featured in a snapshot, since these elements seem to be what’s pulled into results from what we’ve seen thus far on the experience.
“Beyond image search optimization, local SEO, video optimization, etc. it is also important for SGE and organic content strategy in general. Reviews and reputation management will also have increased importance with users conversationally searching for comparison information,” she says.
New Generative AI Shopping Experience Unveiled
Google’s New generative AI shopping experience, built on Google’s Shopping Graph, is an experimental new search experience that uses generative AI to enhance Google’s core experiences, including search and shopping. Google’s Shopping Graph can pull in more than 35 billion product listings and every hour more than 1.8 billion listings are refreshed to give searchers fresh, reliable results.
When searching for a new bike with Google’s generative AI shopping experience, shoppers will now see a snapshot of noteworthy factors to consider and products that fit the bill. Users will also get product descriptions that include relevant, up-to-date reviews, ratings, prices, and product images.
“The transformative power of conversational AI extends beyond planning outings. When shopping, Google’s algorithms decipher your queries, even if you’re unsure of exactly what you’re looking for. Instead of browsing aimlessly, you can simply ask Google for assistance: “Help me find a versatile dress for a wedding, suitable for both formal and outdoor settings.” Through a combination of natural language processing and data analysis, Google identifies products that match your needs, streamlining the shopping process. Sponsored ads still occupy a prominent position above the fold, aligning with the context of the conversation. However, the true value lies in Google’s ability to understand your intent and swiftly deliver tailored results, harnessing information from across the web.”
— Nirish Parsad, Practice Lead, Emerging Tech at Tinuiti
Again, this all sounds great for shoppers, but does this new update impact advertisements within Google? Google explains…
“In this new generative experience, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. And we’ll continue to uphold our commitment to ads transparency and making sure ads are distinguishable from organic search results.”
— Elizabeth Reid, Vice President & GM, Search at Google
The Introduction of Google Search Labs
During the conference, the search giant also introduced Google Search Labs. Google Search Labs is a program that allows users to try out early-stage Google Search experiments (like SGE) and share feedback directly with the teams that are managing these experiments. Labs experiments, including AI-powered experiences, are in early development and available in the Google app on Android phones and iPhones and in Chrome on desktop.
Google’s New Perspectives Filter
The newly announced Perspectives Filter is designed to provide users with a more human touch to digital information by highlighting long-form videos, images, and written posts from discussion boards, Q&A sites, and social media platforms in search results from places like Reddit, Quora, and YouTube. This feature, appearing at the top of search results, aims to help users understand topics through the experiences and perspectives of others.
“Organic search is no longer the traditional 10 links we used to see in SERPs. We need to think about “Search Everywhere” – providing users what they need, when they’re searching for it regardless of the platform. Optimizing platform first (e.g. YouTube, TikTok, Reddit) increases our reach, while Google’s Perspectives filter brings additional visibility to informational content for Google users. Image search, local SEO, video optimization, and review and reputation management are all key focus areas to be agile in for this upcoming feature.”
— Kris Wong, Senior Director of SEO, at Tinuiti
Duet AI for Google Workspace
Duet AI is a new tool that incorporates generative AI into Google Workspace’s range of tools. It is designed to help users write, organize, visualize, and accelerate workflows in real-time collaboration with AI. Some of the new features include:
Duet AI, now integrated into Google Workspace, expands its functionality to Gmail mobile, enabling users to effortlessly draft complete responses using minimal prompts on the go.
Creation of original images via text
By embedding Duet AI into Slides, users have the ability to generate unique visuals based on simple prompts.
Turning data into insights
By introducing Duet AI in Sheets, users can analyze data quicker than ever before. With this feature in place, the burden of manual data entry is eliminated. Additionally, the new “help me organize” capability generates custom plans in Sheets based on user descriptions, aiding in organizing tasks, projects, or activities, whether it’s planning a sales conference or coordinating a team offsite.
Creation of backgrounds on Google Meet
Integrating Duet AI into Google Meet allows users to generate unique backgrounds in video calls to help foster personal expression during online meetings. With this feature, users can create customized visuals for a variety of applications that can be easily changed with just a few clicks.
Assisted writing tools within Docs
A new assisted writing experience is available within Docs. For example, say you’re writing a job description. Now, with assisted writing in place, “Duet AI will not only help you write the content, it will also include smart chips for information like location and status, and variables for details you’d want to customize like your company name (Source).” To top it off, the upgraded neural models in Docs now offer powerful proofreading suggestions, tone and style improvements in multiple languages, empowering users to generate professional-grade writing.
Duet AI is currently only open to the public through the Workspace Labs program, but users can sign up to a waitlist to access it.
Gmail Gets Generative AI Facelift
Google Docs isn’t the only application providing writing assistance. During the I/O conference, Google Announced a new feature for Gmail called “Help me write,” which allows users to draft replies created by AI and choose the tone and length of the response. This feature is a supercharged extension of the existing Smart Compose feature, which can automatically add a short phrase to a reply based on the email received.
Simply type in a prompt of what you want to say, including any relevant details, click create, and the ‘Help me write’ tool will compose a full draft on your behalf. You’ll have the option to further refine or elaborate on the email or send as is.
Introduction of a New Language Model: PaLM 2
PaLM 2 is a new large language model that was announced at Google I/O 2023. It is expected to have a wide range of potential applications in AI development, including natural language processing, speech recognition, and machine translation. Google’s PaLM 1 and PaLM 2 are both large language models (LLMs), but they have several key differences. PaLM 2 is significantly larger than PaLM 1, with 540 billion parameters compared to 137 billion parameters. This means that PaLM 2 can process more information and generate more complex and nuanced outputs. PaLM 2 is also trained on a larger dataset of text and code, which gives it a broader knowledge base to draw from. As a result, PaLM 2 is better at a wider range of tasks, including natural language generation, translation, and reasoning.
Training Has Begun on Google’s Next Gen LLM: Gemini
Gemini is Google’s next-gen large language model (LLM) that aims to take on OpenAI’s GPT. It is an enhanced machine-learning model that will make it a clearer rival to ChatGPT. Google has suggested that Gemini is expected to outperform ChatGPT and BingAI with its unique features, including its multimodal capability, which sets it apart from its predecessors. It is capable of comprehending and producing text, code, and images, making it ideal for a variety of applications.
It’s clear AI is the future, but who will dominate this space? Google has shown an impressive stand with their host of AI innovations announced at Google I/O 2023, but we’re only in the first inning of the “battle” for AI dominance. Have questions about any of the announcements you read above? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.