Google now lets you search by combining images & words
Google is constantly looking for ways to improve its search features, making it easier to search for things that are hard to describe with just a few words, or just an image. At the beginning of this month, the company rolled out a new search option that allows people to combine text and images in a single query.
Seen for the first time, the feature allows you to search for a shirt similar to one in a photo – and type that you want it with “stripes” or take a photo of your chair and type “sofa” to find similar options. Known as “multisearch,” the feature was previewed last September and now available for US users within the Google Lens part of the mobile app.
Even though Google said this feature will be at first “experimental,” it is expected to be used a lot in the future, especially for shopping-related searches. Multisearch also marks Google’s most recent attempt to make search more flexible and less bound to words on a screen.
A feature that is very similar to this is Google Lens – it debuted in 2017, allowing users to identify objects in a picture and/or translate text as it’s viewed through a phone’s camera lens. A similar try in 2020 gave users the option to hum to search for specific songs.
If you want to try out multisearch in the google mobile app, navigate to the camera icon on the right side of the search bar, which would pull up Google Lens. From there, you can take or upload a photo and tap the little bar containing a plus sign with the phrase “add to your search,” which lets you type words to explain what you want.
Using artificial intelligence in some ways, this feature relies on computer vision to deduce what’s the image, while the natural language processing (NLP) feature determines the meaning of the words that you type. Some rumors say that combining music and words could be next in Google’s list as a way to discover new kinds of music, so it’s interesting to see what will Google prepare for us in the future.