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  • Cheri Woodsmall

Google’s New Local Search Features Are Finally Here



Google is finally rolling out the local search features previewed earlier this year, including the ability to search your surroundings with your phone’s camera.


At Google’s Search On Virtual Conference in September, the company had people buzzing over its innovative updates to local search.


Google previewed an option to search for restaurants by dish and a new search capability built into Google Maps’ Live View.


Those updates and more are now available. Here’s an overview of the local search updates launching today.


UPDATES TO GOOGLE LOCAL SEARCH


Search With Live View


Beginning next week, search with Google Maps Live View is rolling out in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Tokyo on Android and iOS. But don't worry, it will be rolling out to the rest of the us in early 2023.


Screenshot from: blog.google/products/maps/new-maps-updates-to-help-you-make-the-most-of-the-holidays/, November 2022.


Search with Live View allows you to use your phone’s camera to find information about places around you. Find out whether a business is open, how busy it is, the price range, and its star rating.


Search For Restaurants By Dish


This one might be one of our favorites. There are two new ways to find restaurants in your local area. Search for restaurants that serve a particular dish by either typing it in manually or conducting a visual search with Google Lens. So cool! And a HUGE win for restaurant owners, because it encourages guests to snap those photos and share! (Google Lens app has several other features, such as adding events to your calendar, getting homework help, translating text - this feature is also getting an upgrade - finding landmarks in a city, and copy business cards to your address book!)


Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/searching-for-holiday-meals/, November 2022.

Google’s ‘multisearch near me’ is launching today in English in the U.S. Now, you can use Lens in the Google app to snap a picture or take a screenshot of a dish, add the words ‘near me,’ and immediately find a place that sells it nearby.


“This new way of searching will help me and local businesses in my community, so I can more easily support neighborhood shops during the holidays,” said Cindy Huynh, Product Manager, Google Lens.


Google Lens Translate Getting An Upgrade


Google is rolling out a big update to the Google Lens augmented-related translate capabilities. This update lets searchers translate text on more complex backgrounds. Instead of covering up the original text, Google will erase the original text and recreate the pixels underneath with an AI-generated background, then Google will overlay the translated text on top of the image.


Google is using generative adversarial networks, also known as GAN models, to present the translated text better. It is the same technology Google uses in the Pixel devices as the “Magix Eraser” feature on photos.


Here is a sample showing how Google Lens is overlaying the translation in an easier way for searchers to comprehend:




Find Fast Charging Stations For Electric Vehicles


Google is adding a filter to searches for electric vehicle charge stations that make it easier to find fast chargers.


Screenshot from: blog.google/products/maps/new-maps-updates-to-help-you-make-the-most-of-the-holidays/, November 2022.


Search for “EV charging stations” and select the “fast charge” filter. You’ll see stations with chargers 50kW or higher.


You can also filter for stations that offer your EV’s plug type in more countries.

These features are live now on Android and iOS in countries where EV charging stations are available.


Google Shopping With AR Shoes


Google is also released shopping features to help you see shoes in AR, augmented reality, over your own shoes. Google said this new shopping AR experience for sneakers, allows you to spin, zoom and see shoes in your space. This will work across brands such as Saucony, VANS and Merrell.


Starts rolling out in the US today, Google said.


New Shopping Models For AR Beauty


Also, Google has added new augmented reality search features for you to try product on models with various features, skin tones and more. Google added a new photo library with 150 models representing a diverse spectrum of skin tones, ages, genders, face shapes, ethnicities and skin types to help you accurately test over 2,000 foundation shades from a wide selection of brands.


This is a feature we covered a while back but now it is going live today in the US.




Google Maps Live View Search


Now you can search and explore neighborhoods with augmented reality using the Google App on your phone. You can now take the Google Maps app on your phone, click on the camera icon and look through the screen to see overlays of what is right near you in real-time.


Google has been demoing this feature for some time but starting next week, this feature will start rolling out in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. Again, we expect to see this in other metro areas, such as Kansas City by Mid-2023.


Here is a screenshot of what this looks like:



What Is the Function of Google Lens?


The best way to use Google Lens is for you to decide. Anytime you see something worth remembering or learning more about is the right time to give the Google Lens app its chance to shine. The Lens app has been mistakenly assumed by many to be an Android-exclusive, but Google Lens for iPhone is just as functional and addictive.


Nobody has been excluded from the party here. To get a taste of the world through the eyes of Google, we highly recommend giving the Google Lens app a try.


How Can This Benefit You As A Business?


If you or any of your customers are in any of these businesses and can leverage any of these features, you likely should as you may get more exposure from Google Local Search for doing so. As a searcher, these features are not just fun and useful but also, they are kind of cool, right?!


Sources: Google, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, SEO Roundtable






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