Google's AI-powered search tool can help tackle your holiday shopping

Google is scaling up Search Generative Experience (SGE) for holiday shopping. The company announced Thursday that its AI-powered search bot can now spit out gift ideas, photorealistic images of product types and virtual try-ons of men’s tops.

Google SGE launched in May, offering AI-driven answers and suggestions to complement the search engine’s standard web results. The company has since added follow-up queries, better translations and interactive definitions in more complex subjects. The tool requires Chrome on desktop or the Google mobile app on smartphones.

A 15 x 11 grid shows 165 AI-generated handbags based on user prompts.

The search giant says 20 percent of apparel searches are five words or longer, suggesting people often look for something particular when seeking info about fashion products. Now, Google SGE can generate “photorealistic images” of the item you’re picturing. You can then tweak the image with follow-up prompts before SGE uses the generated output as a foundation to search for actual products it thinks come the closest.

“Let’s say you want a new winter coat — a colorful, patterned puffer jacket — and you haven’t found quite what you’re looking for,” wrote Julie Black, Google’s Director of Shopping Product, in an announcement blog post. “With generative AI in Search, just look for that style and tap the ‘Generate images’ button to see photorealistic, generated images that match your vision. From there, you can refine the images in real time — so if you’d prefer a colorful metallic jacket instead of patterned, just enter that refinement in the text box. Then you’ll see a new set of photorealistic images. Once you’ve found one you like, just scroll down to see similar shoppable products.”

Image on a phone displaying generative AI searches for gift ideas in the Google app. The search query says

Google also wants SGE to help you formulate the perfect gift. If you search for “great gifts for home cooks” on a compatible device / browser combo, it can produce ideas organized into subcategories like specialty tools, artisanal ingredients, culinary subscriptions and cooking classes. Google says you can refine the query to be ultra-specific, using examples like gifts for home cooks who love pasta or gift ideas for a seven-year-old who wants to be an inventor.

Google SGE added virtual clothing try-ons for women’s tops in June, which the company says have led to “significantly more high-quality interactions from shoppers.” Virtual try-ons for men’s tops arrive today. If you search for women’s or men’s tops from a supported brand, you’ll see 40 virtual models representing different shapes, sizes, heights and skin tones. You can choose one that looks the closest to you or the person you’re shopping for to get an AI-powered view of how the product may look on them. Supported labels at launch include Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, JCrew and Under Armour.

If you haven’t already enrolled, you’ll need to activate SGE for your account before trying it. Visit the Search Labs page or activate SGE in the Google app by tapping the beaker icon on the upper left.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

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