Google Wants to Be Your Personal Shopping Assistant

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Happy woman shopping online through her phone while sitting on the couch at home
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Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence, including AI tools built by the search engines we’ve been using for years. A related term that’s less popular right now is “machine learning,” which is sometimes shortened to ML.

That’s the technology behind Google Shopping Graph, a service that the company describes in a recent blog post:

“The Shopping Graph is our ML-powered, real-time data set of the world’s products and sellers. It stores billions of global product listings … plus specific information about those products — like availability, reviews from other shoppers, pros and cons, materials, colors and sizes. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the Shopping Graph is a similar model to our Knowledge Graph, Google’s database of facts about people, places and things.”

The tool has access to more than 35 billion product listings “to help you make the perfect purchase.” As an example, in its blog post, Google shows someone looking for a new jacket with very specific criteria: women’s, red, puffy, cropped, lightweight, shiny, medium, with a fleece hood, good for extreme weather, on sale and with free shipping.

Google says Shopping Graph will scour data from photos, videos, product descriptions and reviews to find something that sounds like what you want — and in the process, the tool learns desirable product qualities and how to recognize them faster so that it can help people more efficiently next time.

The tool also ties into others from Google, like “Shop the Look,” which helps you put together an entire outfit from an initial clothing search, and buying guides that give you information needed to make an informed purchase.

Another new feature Google is highlighting is the ability to use augmented reality (AR) to preview products in 3-D before purchasing them online. For instance, using your phone as an AR camera, Google can show you what a specific new couch or armchair might look like in your living room.

You don’t have to do anything special to use Google Shopping Graph. It’s simply the technology that’s driving the results you see when you search on Google Shopping.

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