You can now use AI in Google to help with your holiday shopping. Here’s how


Shoppers carry bags of purchased merchandise at the King of Prussia Mall on December 11, 2022 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Mark Makela | Getty Images

Google announced Thursday new artificial intelligence tools that can help you with holiday shopping. So, if you’re shopping for a 4-year-old nephew this year, it can help you find ideas on what he might like with a command like “gifts for a 4-year-old who likes science.”

It’s the first time that generative artificial intelligence is available in Google Shopping, and comes ahead of the holiday season which might attract people to use the site over other options. Holiday spending is expected to reach record highs, according to the National Retail Federation, with its projection ranging from $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion.

Google Shopping has three new features that were announced Thursday:

  • It can tell you what kind of gift a person might like depending on the interests you provide in search.
  • It can generate a photorealistic image of an item you might want, all you have to do is describe it.
  • It now offers 40 photos of men and women of various shapes, sizes and backgrounds to attempt to give a virtual clothing try-on experience.

People can opt into the new options by going into Search Labs and turning on Search Generative Experiences (SGE.)

Here’s a look at what’s new:

The first feature, which is a part of Google’s search generative experience, lets you type in a phrase to the search bar, like “great gifts for home cooks” and Google will return a list of gifts, descriptions of items that a home cook would like and other non-physical items like cooking classes.

You can also get more specific and type in something like “gifts for a 7-year-old who wants to be an inventor.” In that case, it recommended a $25 Inventor’s Box set from Target, among other products.

Google’s second new tool also uses SGE and is designed so you can specify exactly what you’re looking for by describing it. So, if you wanted to search for a “puffy, colorful metallic-looking jacket” it might return results like the picture below:

Google will generate photorealistic images to attempt to make shopping easier.

AI creates a photorealistic image of a variety of items that fit the description you type, and then actual products that are similar to the generated image will appear after you click. This one is designed more for when you are looking for something for yourself, but don’t know exactly what you want. It launches in the U.S. in December.

Google has 40 photos of men and women of different shapes, sizes and backgrounds to try to give people a virtual try-on experience.

The last new function lets you see how a product might look on you. You can search, for example, “brown jacket at J-Crew” and Google will show you photos of 40 different men and women of different shapes, sizes and backgrounds so you can see what a piece of clothing looks like on different models. A version of this already existed for women’s tops, but it is now a more broad-reaching tool.

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