Google Announces Bard and More Updates Relevant to Local Search

Google Announces Bard and More Updates Relevant to Local Search

The AI wars are really kicking off! Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s private event revealing plans for ChatGPT in Bing, today saw the release of ‘Google Presents: Live from Paris’, in which Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP at Google, announced more information about their chatbot, Bard, as well as other AI-driven initiatives for search. 

Introducing Bard

Google recently announced Bard, “an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA”. (Language Model for Dialogue Applications). 

Bard will simplify and make sense of information when answering questions. For example, you can ask it to explain the pros and cons of buying an electric car. You can then ask it to plan your next road trip and ask it to tell you the best places to stop at along the way and show you interesting things to do with your family. 

Google says it “draws information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses.” 

Whilst tools like ChatGPT have the capability for content creation, and that’s what we’ve seen most SEOs using it for, it feels like Bard could remain more of a search engine, with increased power for business discovery. 

Bard is launching to Trusted Testers this week before launching broadly in the future. 

Like Microsoft, Google has also now made a valid effort to remain responsible in this new world of AI, highlighting that it has been in their DNA from the start.

NORA – No One Right Answer

The latest acronym to come from the event is NORA (No One Right Answer) which displays multiple sources of information at the top of search results, alongside additional questions for the user to explore more around their search query.

Currently, Google uses featured snippets for quick, factual answers to a query, but because people might actually want a diverse range of opinions, Google is using generative AI to search results, to give users more choice of results to find the answer they’re looking for.

What this might mean for local SEO however, is a little more unclear. When searching for “best pizza in Brighton”, the search intent there is to find one specific pizza place. If NORA starts sharing multiple choices, then we might as well continue with our usual search on Maps. 

Source: Google

Immersive View

Immersive View was announced at last year’s Search On event, but Google has given us a few more visuals into how it will look and how it will work as it rolls out globally. 

When using Immersive View, you can get a sense of what the area is like at different times of day, how busy the area is, and get a sense of what else is surrounding the place you’re searching at. You’ll also be able to use it to explore things like restaurants in the area, plus take a look at what the restaurant is like inside.

This technology uses 2D images alongside AI, to create 3D images of the locations you’re in. For local SEOs, the importance of great photos of your location could become vital for this new technology to be effective. 

Source: Search Engine Roundtable 

Augmented reality is another new way to interact with the map. Search with Live View uses AI to find things nearby. A quick search for coffee shops near you, whilst holding your phone up to the street in front of you, will show you nearby businesses. The AR view will show the business’ star rating and the number of reviews, as well as how busy it is at that time. 

But how useful is this for users? Whilst a more visual map is fun to use, the key thing here is there’s not a lot you can’t get already from Maps. In real life, you can see the business name and how far away the business is just by looking up, so what this AR view really highlights, is the business’ reviews. There’s now even more of a business case for local businesses to consider reviews, as it’s another place reviews are surfaced. 

Google Live View

Source: Search On 2022

Jenny Bernarde
About the author
Jenny looks after the BrightLocal community, through managing our social media channels, connecting with our community, and producing our online webinars.

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