Search engine giant Google hosted its annual Input/Output (I/O) conference this week, and within the raft of keynote addresses and breakout presentations, previews of forthcoming enhancements and new tools are exciting those in attendance.
Key announcements include updates to Search, new Maps presentation tools, improved and enhanced advertising formats, advances in shopping features, secure payment options and more.
Of the most exciting developments is the immersive Maps feature, due for launch imminently. The new feature merges Street View and aerial images to give a ‘fly-through’ option when searching for a location.
One will now be able to glide down from the aerial view and fly to a venue (for example) at Street View perspective, including going into and through certain establishments such as restaurants, public spaces and more for a quick view before deciding whether to go there.
From a marketing perspective there are also informational overlays and digital markers that can be included, giving you the opportunity to give a prospective customer a very real impression of what they can expect from your shop both in terms of look and feel, and things like menus, special offers, features and more.
Tied to the new Maps features are advances in Augmented Reality development, which will, over time, help to enrich the experience with an even more realistic digital impression of a place, venue etc.
In terms of digital advertising Google is testing a new carousel ad format in Search results which will provide yet another way for shoppers to browse directly from the SERP.
They are also updating the advertising management dashboard to include more control features around how ad experiences are personalised across Google’s apps and websites. Users will be able to like, share, block or investigate any advert with a view to being able to take more ownership of the overall digital permissions experience.
Other developments in the pipeline include a virtual card feature for secure online payments that uses similar functionality as random password generators to create random codes for payments rather than using an actual card number.
And finally Google has added another 24 languages to its Translate service, taking the total number of included languages to 133.