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Google enhances product search, advertising with AI

Google Shopping Ads Virtual Try-on
Google is offering virtual try-on via apparel ads (Image: Google).

Google is releasing several new AI-based tools designed to help retailers promote their products throughout the path to purchase.

At the Google Marketing Live event in Mountain View, Calif., the tech giant announced multiple new AI-enabled solutions that help retailers make their products discoverable in Google Search and then streamline their promotion. An overview of each new application follows.

Visual brand search profiles

A new visual brand profile available directly via Google search highlights product information retailers provide through Google Merchant Center and  Google’s Shopping Graph, a real-time, artificial intelligence (AI)-based dataset of products, inventory and merchants with more than 35 billion listings.

The profile, inspired by the small business attribute Google released in November 2023, will spotlight product and brand imagery, videos and customer reviews. It will also display a retailer’s current deals, promotions and shipping policies in one location for shoppers.

Ads will continue to appear on the page along with this new profile. Google will roll this new solution out in phases in the coming months.

Product Studio enhancements

In November 2023, Google began to roll out Product Studio, a new tool enabling companies to create unique, tailored product imagery for free, to all U.S. users of the Merchant Center Next product listing platform.

New Product Studio features include the ability to generate new product images that match a company’s brand style. Users can upload an image, add a prompt describing the scene and within moments Product Studio will generate campaign-ready content in a company’s brand style.

Product Studio will also provide users the ability to generate videos from just one photo. With the click of a button, retailers can animate components of still product images to create short videos or product GIFs for social media. Product Studio is now available in Australia, Canada, U.K. and U.S. in Merchant Center Next and the Google & YouTube app on Shopify, and coming to India and Japan in the next few weeks.

Bringing Shopping ads to life with generative AI

Google is also introducing three new ad formats powered by its generative AI capabilities. Initially launching for retailers as a closed beta later in 2024, it will let retailers connect their short form videos or videos from creators to their ads. 

This will enable shoppers on Search to engage with the short videos at a click to see content such as how featured clothes look on others, styling suggestions, and related or complementary products. Viewers will also see AI summaries below the video highlights.

In addition, Google is launching virtual try-on in apparel ads for men’s and women’s tops. This lets shoppers see how products look on a variety of body types using 3D augmented reality technology.

Google is further using 3D technology to automatically create 3D spins from a set of images, making asset creation easier for retailers that sell shoes. A retailer can provide a handful of high-quality images of their shoes at different angles Google will use its advanced AI techniques to create a 360-degree view of their footwear.

"We’re excited to help retailers go beyond simply listing their products to creating experiences that can help establish genuine, lasting connections with shoppers," Matt Madrigal, VP/GM, Merchant Shopping, Google, said in a corporate blog post.

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