Democratizing Search — helping retailers deliver a Google-quality search experience

With a shift towards digital, shoppers today have a lot more choice online than ever before. Retailers are under even more pressure to deliver relevant experiences for the users. Retailers have been leveraging Google’s Recommendations AI (Artificial Intelligence) [1] to deliver highly personalized product recommendations at scale and Google’s Vision Product Search [2] to help shoppers search products with product images.

In this article, I wanted to focus on an exciting piece of technology which is now being developed for retailers — one that has been responsible for the inception of Google over two decades ago and has been perfected ever since — Search [3].

Enabling retailers provide Google-quality search experience for users (image source: pexels)

The art of search

For a long time, “Google” has been synonymous with search. A deep understanding of intent and context has been the key behind the success of Google’s search. Retailers spend a lot of time, effort and money to market their products to acquire new customers and bring existing customers to their site. When the customer arrives on the website or app, it is more important than ever for the retailer to provide a personalized and relevant experience. Building a search engine today is not as hard as it was 20 years ago, but doing it well is still an art. It requires taking advantage of technological advancements in natural language understanding, search ranking technology and a solid understanding of privacy regulations.

Search as a (micro)service

To solve for this, Google Cloud is in the early stages of launching an API based service called Search for Retail [4]; a solution which helps retailers power their own digital properties with Google-quality search capabilities such as advanced query understanding and semantic search. The solution will give retailers the ability to provide relevant suggestions for broad queries such as a product category and accurate results for precision queries where users are looking for a specific product or a model. Further, the ability to personalize search queries for users using state of the art ranking technology and combined with the ability to influence search ranking by factoring in product specific offers and promotions will give retailers the ability to customize it for their business.

Improved user experience

Retailers can benefit from the technology and offer intuitive search experience on their digital properties. From a user perspective, you can expect a Google-like search experience on the retailer’s site or app. At the time of writing this blog post, Google’s Search for Retail is in private preview [4] — which means only a few selected retailers and technology partners are testing the early version of this solution. I am super excited to help retailers leverage this technology and keen to experience the technology first hand.

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Disclaimer: Opinions presented here are my own and not the views of my employer

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Kartik Trasi

Googler. Love solving real world problems using data and artificial intelligence. (Disclaimer: Opinions presented here are my own)