AI-powered online tools are not a rarity, think Alexa or Siri. However, recently a big wave of new AI solutions started to take the world by storm like never before. ChatGTP revolution is probably the first thing that comes to mind, followed by many new solutions. And soon a new Google search engine tool, namely Project Magi, will also join those ranks.
While very little is known about it, we’ll try to gather some information about the latest Google project and gauge what possible impact Project Magi can have on the ecommerce landscape from business and customer perspectives.
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What is Project Magi by Google?
That’s an interesting question but so far not much has been shared about it. What we know is that Project Magi is an AI-powered search engine that aims at the personalization of search queries in a conversational manner. What’s more, it’s expected that the system will learn from a user’s interactions with it, so the longer the person uses it, the more refined the search answers will be.
When will Magi be released?
Google plans to give access to Project Magi initially to 1 million people, expanding it to 30 million by the end of the year (only in the US). Hence, we should expect the first wave of users quite soon, though no exact date has been revealed.
Is Bard the same as Magi?
The short answer is – no, they are two separate tools. Though both Bard and Magi projects are AI solutions aiming at enhancing search queries, they’re meant to do so in different ways.
In March 2023, Google released an AI-powered chatbot called Bard. While initially, it was available to only a limited number of users, now you can try it in over 180 countries and territories.
Its inception was a direct response to ChatGTP and its functionalities. Bard, similarly to ChatGTP, is an AI chatbot. It uses natural language models and machine learning to answer questions in a conversational manner. One significant difference is that ChatGTP’s data input ends in September 2021, while Bard has up-to-date information, which certainly is a plus. What’s more, while ChatGTP is purely text-oriented, Bard can do both text and visuals. This is particularly important in the context of ecommerce but we’ll return to that later.
So coming back to our question, project Magi is yet to be released while Bard is already available. Secondly, while they both concentrate on dialogue-like search qualities, Magi will provide a personalized experience to each user, which Bard doesn’t aim to do.
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The landscape of AI-powered search tools: ChatGTP and Bard
ChatGTP has had its share of iterations while it’s new for Bard, so the landscapes are slightly different in this respect. But so far the reviews about Bard have been mixed. Nevertheless, Bard shows great potential, not only with its user-friendly interface but with all its possible integrations both within the Google apps and outside of them.
While these chatbots have their strengths and weaknesses, it’s a dynamic and speedy process of constantly updating the models. We see that with each iteration of ChatGTP, functionalities are being greatly improved and expanded based on numerous feedback. Same will surely be with Bard – a rapid rollout of new and improved versions. We’re looking forward to seeing how they’ll compare in the near future.
Why are we interested in Google Bard?
As an already-released solution, Bard shows us the direction Google is taking with AI. But what’s more, Magi will need to neatly fit ‘the world of Bard’ by enhancing this new landscape even further.
Without much to go about in regard to Magi, we can use Bard as a springboard for what Magi can offer. One important aspect of Bard is the visual search with Google Lens integration. That for sure offers a different search experience to ChatGTP which centers around text. Having visual answers and search queries broadens the horizons of what is possible and how AI can assist you. The shopping experience, as very much a visual one, can be enhanced by AI like Magi providing users with pictures and information about products.
What might we expect from Google’s Magi?
Google has always had user experience at the forefront of its philosophy and here we might expect a similar idea. Virtual assistants have found their place in our lives and now Magi might do the same for the search engines.
Right now results in SERP are based on various algorithms that are trying to gauge how useful the site will be to the user. This function will likely stay but with a personal touch added to it, which might provide a new way of browsing.
For example, Google Weather has really pushed away many websites that give weather forecasts. We just type in our city’s name for an instant hourly weather report – it’s right there, without the need to check out different websites. But if we do windsurfing, for example, the kind of forecast we are after should include much more detailed elements than the standard weather forecast does. And that’s just a little snippet of what we hope to see in terms of personalization and enhanced user experience.
How can Magi affect the world of ecommerce?
There’s no doubt that the way we do online shopping will change once Magi comes to play. But consumers and business owners will be affected in different ways.
Magi from the customer’s point of view
Here are some of the ideas we have about how Magi might affect the shopping experience for potential buyers and customers.
From the customer’s perspective, the shopping experience will be more personalized. They will need to venture out less into the individual websites as they could shop online from Google itself. This means that shopping will be more centralized around Google which in turn will diminish the browsing. We’re not sure how that will look in real life, as it somehow means that the new Google Magi will encourage less searching, but since Google is primarily a search engine, it seems like a paradox…
Another aspect worth mentioning: there are talks about integrating payments into Google so that instead of getting redirected to a payment gateway, you’ll be able to pay straight on Google. That for sure will add a level of convenience and safety.
What we think at this point is that prospective buyers will be getting more ads from products they regularly buy from (which is something that already happens with cookies and targeted marketing) but maybe that will be elevated to a different level – the one that is centered around buyers rather than companies. With each interaction, Magi will learn our shopping behavior patterns, and it might be providing us with ads that are better tailored to what we actually want and need (better tailored than what companies are trying to offer us).
Magi from the business point of view
We can already see how the above changes will affect the way businesses will operate online.
The decreased browsing will directly hit the traffic numbers. Lower traffic usually means lower sales, as businesses have a lower number of potential clients. At the same time, if your products are providing appeal to particular customers, possibly your products will gain even more visibility than now. That could potentially separate the good quality products and services from the lower ones. These are of course only speculations, but it’s possible that in the user-centric Google approach, practices that actually help users will be rewarded, and on the contrary, those that are proving to give substandard experience will wither.
From a marketing perspective, SEO techniques will surely need to be updated. How? – we don’t know yet but for sure getting traffic back to your website will be harder. Being included in the Magi results might be the ultimate goal, so this might push away the current SEO goal from the podium, namely – a high place in SERP. Not that it will become obsolete, but it might seize to be the holy grail of content SEO.
AI content vs human content
Speaking of content, there’s no doubt that with the rise of AI-assisted search tools, user behavior will change. We’ll rely on AI to provide us with an answer rather than search for it on individual pages in SERP. Then why would people come to a website for any content? Possibly for expert content given by individuals and their unique perspectives on the matter. This can’t be achieved by an AI, by definition, so maybe that element of content will be on the rise.
The personalization aspect might also lead to creating information bubbles for users, not only in ecommerce but search experience in general. The more we see the things we like and believe, the more we are closing ourselves for growth and expansion of our horizons. We wonder whether there will be solutions put into place by Google to ameliorate that effect.
Project Magi: Closing thoughts
There’s very little known about Project Magi but the eyes of ecommerce business owners for sure are directed at Google now. The companies search for any information that will give them a clearer idea about what to expect and how it will affect their business. Because the one thing we know for sure is that in the wake of Google Magi ecommerce will change. And businesses will need to adjust their strategies and operations since most of their sales happen online.
While we expect it to be user-centric, we hope that there will be a clear path for ecommerce businesses to provide quality products and services to prospective clients. Getting a refined, more personalized experience might be a way to boost some great companies out there.
No matter what changes Magi will bring, we’re sure that the community of online retailers will be able to navigate these new waters and find solutions that let them prosper.
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