Google I/O 2022: New Maps Advances, Shopping Tools, and Search Insights

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This week, Google hosted its 2022 I/O summit, where it shared previews of a variety of upcoming features and tools, including Search updates, new Maps presentation tools, improved ad formats, shopping advances, secure payment options, and more.

Here are some of the key announcements for digital marketers that came out of the event.

The announcement of Google’s more immersive Maps feature, which combines Street View and aerial images to create a more comprehensive, interactive digital model of the world, was one of the major highlights of I/O day one.

The new Maps updates will also allow users to view a neighborhood, landmark, restaurant, or popular venue on their device.

With Google’s team creating increasingly engaging Maps perspectives, this appears to be an important consideration for marketers looking to showcase their business online. The new format also includes on-screen information markers that could point to new advertising and promotional opportunities, particularly for tourism-related businesses.

According to Google:

“Looking for a place to eat for lunch?” Glide down to street level to explore nearby restaurants and see useful information such as live traffic and nearby busyness. You can even look inside to get a sense of the atmosphere before making your reservation.”

That could be a significant factor in a variety of ways, while also pointing to the next stage of Google’s advanced AR development and integration into its Search features.

Google has also announced the expansion of eco-friendly routing for Maps to more regions, most likely beginning with Europe, as well as the release of a new ‘ARCore Geospatial API’ that will allow developers to create new AR features for Maps.

In terms of augmented reality, Google demonstrated its own AR glasses prototype, including an example of how they could allow the wearer to see real-time language translations.

Google didn’t say when they might be available to consumers, but it’s interesting to see another player in the upcoming AR arms race.

In terms of ads, Google is testing a new carousel ad format in Search results, which will give shoppers another way to browse directly from the SERP.

As you can see, the option would bring the now-famous carousel ad display format to Search, which could help Google capitalize on the growing interest in eCommerce while also expanding its own shopping ambitions.

Google also announced a new ads control dashboard, which will allow users to control how their ad experiences are personalized across Google’s apps and sites.

The new ad center, which will be available on all Google ads, will allow users to like, share, or block any ad, as well as gain more information about who paid for the ad and why they were specifically targeted within that campaign.

Choosing ‘Customize more of the ads you see’ will take you to the second screen above, which gives you even more control over your Google ad experiences.

Users will also be able to limit advertisements related to sensitive topics such as alcohol, gambling, dating, pregnancy, parenting, and weight loss.

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It’s an interesting development to watch for advertisers, as it could have an impact on targeting accuracy if enough people switch off – but similar controls have been available in other apps for some time, and few users go to the effort of using them.

Google is also attempting to make online payments more secure by introducing a new ‘virtual card’ option that would allow you to pay for products without entering your actual credit card number. It’s similar to how password generators work, in that they generate random codes that are linked to your Google identity, with your actual, physical card details kept hidden from vendors.

Google is also broadening the scope of its ‘About this Result website insights’ element to include general web usage.

For example, when viewing a web page in the Google app, you’ll soon be able to open a new tab with more information about the source URL, “including a brief description, what they say about themselves, and what others on the web say about them.”

That could give you more context for what you’re seeing on each site, as well as how trustworthy the page is.

Google is also making it easier for people to remove search results containing personal information about them.

Google is rolling out a new, simplified application flow that will allow you to request the removal of identifying features in Search, as shown here.

“When you search on Google and find results about you that include your phone number, home address, or email address, you’ll be able to request their removal from Google Search right away.” With this new tool, you can request removal of your contact information from Search with a few clicks and easily track the status of these removal requests.”

Google has also recently expanded its appeals process for the removal of personal information-containing search results.

Google is also opening a second physical store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Last year, Google opened its first retail location in New York City.

Meanwhile, Google Translate has added 24 new languages, bringing the tool’s total to 133 languages and regional variations.

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