Google Cloud launches AI-powered solutions for retailers

Sharing some of its proprietary search know-how

Rachel England

January 21, 2021

2 Min Read

Sharing some of its proprietary search know-how

The COVID-19 pandemic has put more pressure on retailers than ever before to expand their ecommerce offering – online orders increased nearly 50% last year compared to 2019.

Now, Google Cloud has launched a suite of solutions designed to help retailers boost their online capabilities and deliver personalized shopping experiences.

Product Discovery Services for Retail brings together AI algorithms and the Cloud Search for Retail platform, leveraging Google’s proprietary tech within a retailer’s website. According to Google, retailers will be able to use the software to “implement seamless search and recommendation capabilities that enhance consumer engagement and improve conversions across retailers’ own digital properties.”

Greater personalization

Product Discovery Services for Retail brings together three different products. First up, Recommendations AI, which enables retailers to deliver personalized product recommendations at scale – it uses Google Cloud’s latest machine learning architecture so retailers can adapt to user behavior in real-time. According to Google, cosmetics retailer Sephora has seen a 50% increase in click-through rates on product pages that use this tool.

The second is Vision API Product Search, which allows shoppers to search for a product based on an image, presenting them with visually and semantically similar items. This component uses machine learning-powered object recognition and lookup to provide results. Both Vision API and Recommendations AI are in general availability.

Finally, there’s Google Cloud Search for Retail – currently available in private preview – pulling from Google's deep understanding of user intent and context to provide retailers with improved product search functionality that can be embedded into their sites and mobile apps. This hopefully increases the likelihood of shoppers finding exactly what they want.

Delivering agility

“As the shift to online continues, smarter and more personalized shopping experiences will be even more critical for retailers to rise above their competition,” Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer at Google Cloud, said in a press release.

“Retailers are in dire need of agile operating models powered by cloud infrastructure and technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to meet today’s industry demands. We’re proud to partner with retailers around the world, and bring forward our Product Discovery offerings to help them succeed.”

Product Discovery Services for Retail is the latest in a long line of AI-enabled products from Google Cloud, all part of CEO Thomas Kurian’s drive to produce enterprise-focused solutions. However, the launch may be overshadowed this week by reports that Google is investigating another of its top AI ethicists, following the dismissal of prominent AI researcher Timnit Gebru last month.

About the Author(s)

Rachel England

Freelance journalist Rachel England has covered all aspects of technology for more than a decade. She have a particular interest in sustainability-focused tech innovation, and has once attended a green business expo dressed as a recycling bin.

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