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Google Announces New AI Features, the Most Impactful of Which Now Makes Photos Significantly More Important

December 5, 2023 /
All industries  /   Google Business Profile 

Google Maps expanded AI features for route preview, visual search, and electric vehicle charging. These AI features are currently live in the U.S, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K. Highlights of this update include: 

  • Immersive View feature that shows detailed 3D previews of routes on Google Maps. 
  • The Maps Lens tool using AI and AR is expanding to over 50 more cities globally. 
  • Maps is adding new visual search results with photos for thematic queries like “animal latte art”. 

The last of these features is something that could drastically impact rankings, and something marketers must be ready for. Google is going so far as to say it is switching to a new “Photo-First” search results listing interface. What this means is that depending on the user’s query, Google will check the images attached to a listing first, both those uploaded by the business owner and their customers, then decide how to build the SERP. 

Google has perfected it’s Google Vision AI over a number of years now. Even before the AI boom of 2023, Google potentially used images as a ranking factor. Google’s Vision AI can identify the contents of an image including corporate logos and products. These identified images then help businesses rank for either direct searches or for searches of products/services they provide. Google is now utilizing its Vision AI technology in full force, making photos something every marketer should be focused on. 

Businesses owners will have to ensure that their listing images represent every aspect of their business. This means shots of the venue, products, staff, logos, and especially of the services offered, even Google using “latte art” as their example of something to emphasize.