Google is rolling out improvements to its search engine that provide more reliable, trustworthy, and actionable information for users experiencing personal crises such as suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, substance abuse, and domestic violence, the company announced in a blog post.
The search giant updates the search by integrating its “Multitask Unified Model”, or MUM for short, into the results. MUM is multimodal, meaning it can analyze information between text and images while simultaneously translating information from over 75 different languages and having a deeper understanding of the world and how multiple subjects can be compared.
The end result is an easier and more convenient search experience for users, as Google says MUM can generate higher-quality search results in a single search. The company says it will be making these improvements in the coming weeks.
“People in personal crises search in all sorts of ways, and it’s not always obvious to us that they’re in need,” wrote Pandu Nayak, Google’s fellow and vice president for search, in the blog post. “If we can’t see that accurately, we can’t program our systems to display the most helpful search results. So why is using machine learning to understand language so important?”
Google will also use MUM to improve spam protection quality and expand to other languages where the company may have limited training data.
It also uses AI to improve search results for vulnerable groups like children who may be sensitive to certain content served by the search engine. Google said its BERT tools reduced unexpected shocking results by 30%.
MUM is 1,000 times more powerful than BERT, short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, Google’s neural network-based pre-training technique for natural language processing used in its search engine. Introduced in 2019, BERT was the most significant AI change since Google released RankBrain in 2015.
While Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine with over 70% market share, voice assistants and other emerging platforms are posing challenges to its dominance. TikTok ended Google’s 15-year reign as the world’s most popular web domain and is often used by individuals to share helpful advice obtain. Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce and smart speakers also positions itself against Google in the advertising market.