Google Helps Shoppers Find the Perfect Gift with Generative AI 

New generative AI features land on Google Search in time for the holidays.

Earlier this month, Google debuted a slate of tools to help bargain-hunters find what they need this holiday season. Now the company is bringing generative AI into the mix as it continues to look for new ways to serve gift-givers this season.

New enhancements to Google’s AI-powered search tool, Search Generative Experience (SGE), will help users find the perfect gift no matter how specific their query. It can even generate searchable images of the apparel ideas in shoppers’ head to find exactly what they want. While consumers have been “trained” to type in as few words as possible when searching, SGE is designed to deliver results with highly specific multi-word queries that resemble natural phrases.

More Specific, Relevant Results for Gift Givers

GenAI enabled gift-giving search on Google.
Example of genAI-enabled gift-giving search on Google. (Image courtesy Google)

“Let’s say you’re looking for a present for the budding chef in your life and don’t know where to start,” explained Julie Black, Director of Shopping Product at Google in a blog post. “Search ‘great gifts for home cooks’ and you’ll now see a wide variety of subcategories to explore — like specialty tools, artisanal ingredients, culinary subscriptions and even experiences like cooking classes — with options from brands large and small. Just tap into a category to browse shoppable gift options and select a product to buy.”

With the help of generative AI, gift shoppers will be able to find relevant results for even the most tough-to-shop-for family and friends by getting more creative and descriptive in their queries. Other examples Black provided included searches like “great gifts for home cooks who love pasta” or “gifts for a 7-year-old who wants to be an inventor.”

The new tool is already available for users that have opted in to SGE in the U.S.; those who haven’t can opt in through Google Search Labs.

The Ability to ‘Shop What’s on Your Mind’

Example of image generation and search on Google.
Example of image generation and search on Google. (Image courtesy Google)

About half of people actually shop for themselves over the holidays, according to a Google/Ipsos holiday shopping study. Apparel shoppers in particular often have something very specific in mind, with 20% of apparel queries on Google coming in at five words or longer, said Black. To help with this, Google has introduced AI-powered image generation for shopping.

The new functionality connects Google’s image generation technology with the more than 35 billion listings in its “Shopping Graph” to help customers visualize and find what they’re looking for. SGE users shopping for apparel will soon have the option to generate photorealistic images inspired by their search term, and then shop products that match those images. The new capability will roll out on mobile in the U.S. starting in December for all users opted in to SGE.

“Let’s say you want a new winter coat — a colorful, patterned puffer jacket — but you haven’t found quite what you’re looking for,” said Black. “With generative AI in Search, just look for that style and tap ‘generate images’ to see photorealistic images that match your vision. And if you want to make an adjustment, like if you’d prefer a colorful metallic jacket instead of a patterned one, just enter that refinement in the text box to see a new set of images. Once you’ve found one you like, scroll down to see similar shoppable products.”