Google announced several updates that make it easier for iOS users to conduct Google searches on the iPhone and iPad.
The new updates — Google Search app extension for iMessage, suggestions for Google Search on Safari, and support for drag and drop on the iPad — will help Google ensure that its mobile search platform remains a primary mode of mobile discovery, regardless of the user’s operating system.
Here’s an overview of the updates Google announced on Monday:
- Google Search app for iPhone and iPad now includes an iMessage extension. This means that iPhone and iPad users can Google Search from within iMessage, and then quickly add their search results to their iMessage conversations to share with others. There’s also a GIF button for quickly searching for GIFs to share. The new extension makes it easier to share Google Search results via iMessage.
- Improved search integration with Safari on iOS. In September 2017, Google introduced a new feature in the Google app that generates suggestions for related content when a user comes to the end of a webpage. Google is now extending that functionality to any browser on the iPhone, including Safari. This reduces the need to type a new query into the search box.
- Support for drag and drop on the iPad. Users on iOS 11 can drag and drop to effortlessly move text, images, and links to and from the Google app. For example, a simple tap and hold on an article will now allow a user to drag the link into other apps like iMessage or Notes.
A focus on enhancing the mobile search experience for iOS users is important for two key reasons:
- Mobile is the most used medium for searches. Google found that more than half of all web searches are on mobile, mostly through micro-moments, or when individuals reflexively turn to a device to act on a need to learn something, do something, or discover something. By incorporating Google Search into iMessage, Google can satisfy the immediate need of consumers to share information when chatting with friends.
- Mobile search is the main driver of Google’s advertising business. While Google doesn’t break out mobile as a percentage of its total revenue, Google’s CFO Ruth Porat mentioned that the channel was largely responsible for driving the 24% YoY growth in total revenue it reported for Q4 2017. And despite being limited to mobile web searches, Apple users account for nearly half of Google’s mobile search revenue.
The smartphone is getting smarter as tech and internet companies inject increasingly sophisticated computer vision and object recognition functions into their hardware and software. The ability to “understand” what the user is pointing their mobile camera at and “read” the image has opened the door for visual search.
Foreseeing the potential for mobile visual search to create new revenue opportunities, brands are attempting to harness the smartphone camera’s increasing sophistication to engage with consumers and drive sales.
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence analyzes the developing technologies behind mobile visual search and its value to businesses and brands. The report also assesses risks and opportunities inherent in developing a visual search strategy, provides a list of companies that are working in the space, and discusses what they’ve accomplished so far.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
- There is strong evidence that mobile visual search technology will take off in the near future, including growing access to technology, strong usage rates of camera-related apps, and early indication of potential revenue growth.
- In some instances, visual search is faster and more accurate than text or voice, as it cuts through consumer-introduced ambiguities.
- The mobile visual search ecosystem is growing, with a slew of enabling platforms, native apps, and internet companies all broadening their expertise in the field.
- Leading internet search companies, including Google and Baidu, are in a race to capture the mobile visual search market as it begins to eat into traditional forms of search.
- The smartphone is the perfect launchpad for visual search technology, but new form factors, like smartglasses, hold great potential.
In full, the report:
- Provides an argument for the potential uptake of mobile visual search technology by tech companies, brands, and consumers.
- Outlines the current mobile visual search landscape.
- Explains how startups and tech companies with mobile visual search products are evolving their business strategies.
- Provides an outlook for the future of the mobile visual search industry.