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Google AI: New Ways to Search in 2024 

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By Elizabeth Reid, Vice President, Search

For more than two decades, we’ve continuously redefined what a search engine can do — always guided by our mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

This has gone hand in hand with our ongoing advancements in AI, which help us better understand information in its many forms — whether it’s text, audio, images or videos.

As part of this evolution, we’ve made it easier to express what you’re looking for in ways that are more natural and intuitive. For instance, you can search with your voice, or you can search with your camera using Lens. And recently, we’ve been testing how generative AI’s ability to understand natural language makes it possible to ask questions on Search in a more natural way.

Ultimately, we envision a future where you can search any way, anywhere you want. Now, as we enter 2024, we’re introducing two major updates that bring this vision closer to reality: Circle to Search and an AI-powered multisearch experience. Let’s take a look at what’s ahead.

Circle (or highlight or scribble) to Search 

Today we unveiled Circle to Search, a new way to search anything on your Android phone screen without switching apps. With a simple gesture, you can select images, text or videos in whatever way comes naturally to you — like circling, highlighting, scribbling or tapping — and find the information you need right where you are.

When something grabs your interest (like these adorable dog goggles!), it can be disruptive to stop what you’re doing and use another app or browser to start searching for information. But now, whether you’re texting friends, browsing social media or watching a video, you can search what’s on your screen right when your curiosity strikes.

Circle to Search is launching globally on select premium Android smartphones on January 31, starting with the Pixel 8, the Pixel 8 Pro and the new Galaxy S24 Series. And as we’ve shared, Search and Shopping ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the results page.

Point your camera, ask a question, get help from AI 

In 2022, we pioneered multisearch in Lens as a new way to search multimodally, with both images and text. Since it launched, multisearch has been best for refining visual queries — like searching for a photo of red sneakers with Lens and adding the word “blue” to find them in your preferred color. But now, thanks to our recent breakthroughs in generative AI, multisearch makes exploring the world easier than ever before.

Starting today, when you point your camera (or upload a photo or screenshot) and ask a question using the Google app, the new multisearch experience will show results with AI-powered insights that go beyond just visual matches. This gives you the ability to ask more complex or nuanced questions about what you see, and quickly find and understand key information.

For example, imagine you’re at a yard sale and you come across a strange-looking board game. There’s no box or instructions, so immediately some questions spring to mind: What is this game and how is it played? This is where the new multisearch experience can help.

Just take a picture of the game, add your question (“How do you play this?”), and you’ll get an AI-powered overview that brings together the most relevant information from across the web. This way, you can quickly find out what the game is called and how to win. And with the AI-powered overview, it’s easy to dig deeper with supporting links and get all the details.

AI-powered overviews on multisearch results are launching this week in English in the U.S. for everyone — no enrollment in Search Labs required. To get started, just look for the Lens camera icon in the Google app for Android or iOS. If you’re outside the U.S. and opted into SGE, you can preview this new experience in the Google app. You’ll also be able to access AI-powered overviews on multisearch results within Circle to Search.

Continuing to boldly experiment with generative AI in Search 

This week’s launch of AI-powered insights for multisearch is the result of testing we began last year to see how gen AI can make Search radically more helpful, with our Search Generative Experience (SGE) in Search Labs. We’ve gotten lots of useful feedback from people who’ve chosen to join this experiment, and we’ll continue to offer SGE in Labs as a testbed for bold new ideas.

But our goal is to make AI helpful for everyone, not just early adopters. So moving forward, as we continue to experiment and uncover which applications of gen AI are most helpful, we’ll introduce them into Search more broadly, like we’re doing now with multisearch results.

Today’s updates will make Search even more natural and intuitive, but we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible. To try out the latest capabilities we’re testing, enroll in Search Labs (where available) and opt into the SGE experiment. We hope you’ll join Labs as we continue reimagining the future of Search.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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E-Business

Expert Urges FG to Harmonise NIN, BVN to Tackle Crimes

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Noble Ajuonu, head, Sydani Technologies Ltd., has urged the Federal Government to harmonise National Identification Number (NIN) and Bank Verification Number (BVN) to tackle crimes and insecurity in the country.

Expert Urges FG to Harmonise NIN, BVN to Tackle Crimes

Ajuonu made the call at a media roundtable, organised by Sydani Group in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the roundtable focuses on driving sustainability through a comprehensive analysis of Nigeria’s key development areas.

Ajuonu said that Nigeria could overcome its security challenges and pave the way for a safer, more secure future for all Nigerians by embracing technology and implementing practical solutions,

“We need to harmonise data, prioritise seamless integration of databases like NIN, BVN, and security agency records, establish clear protocols for data sharing and access, with robust safeguards against misuse,’’ expert said.

According to him, the unified data pool will empower intelligence gathering and targeted operations.

He also called for investments in smart surveillance, intelligent video analytics software, training of personnel in data analysis, interpretation of data in real-time to combat crimes.

“There is need to implement a legal framework for call interception in criminal investigations, with strict oversight to prevent abuse, encourage community cohesion, training of tech savvy security personnel with tech-enabled tools.’’

Ajuonu also urged the government to address infrastructure deficit in technology, saying that technology was all encompassing to address insecurity.

“According to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as of December 2023, only 104.2 million Nigerians had been enrolled for the National Identity Number (NIN).’’

Ajuonu added that over 122.2 million citizens left uncaptured for NIN were people in rural areas where enrolment centres, digital services were limited.

“Most crimes are being perpetuated from rural communities and this lack of comprehensive identification creates a gap where elements not captured in the national database can constitute public nuisance, crimes.

“There is the inadequacy in the integration of NIN, BVN and Voters Identification Number (VIN).

“Advanced call interception and analysis tools, used successfully in other countries, could provide invaluable insights into criminal networks and operations but infrastructure is lacking,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Godfrey Petgrave, the Agricultural Expert, Sydani Group, called for empowerment of smallholder farmers with access to finance and training to enhance productivity.

According to Petgrave, Nigeria requires policy reform and institutional strengthening to improve agricultural practices and embrace digital agriculture solutions to address food insecurity.

Mr Akolade Jimoh, another expert of the group on health, advocated for expanded community-based health insurance programmes for rural and underserved areas.

Jimoh added that the country needed to encourage Public Private Partnership to revolutionise products design and quality improvement on health services.


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Konga launches Infinix Brand Week with Incredible Deals

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Konga, Nigeria’s leading composite e-commerce group, is thrilled to announce the launch of amazing deals at its Infinix Brand Week. Infinix, a leading global smartphone brand known for its innovative products and cutting-edge technology promises exclusive discounts and special offers on select smartphones, marking an exciting milestone in the realm of online shopping.

Shoppers can expect nothing short of extraordinary deals on a wide range of Infinix products, all available exclusively on the Konga online platform. With discounts of up to 30% off, this partnership between Konga and Infinix aims to redefine the shopping experience for tech enthusiasts across Nigeria.

Konga Brand Week has become synonymous with excitement and unbeatable deals, and this year’s edition is no exception. In addition to exclusive discounts on Infinix smartphones, shoppers can explore a diverse array of products across various categories, including electronics, fashion, home essentials, and more.

“At Konga, we are dedicated to providing our customers with the best shopping experience possible,” said Rita Ohaedoghasi, VP Marketing at Konga. “The Infinix Week during Konga Brand Week allows us to continue delivering on that promise by offering incredible discounts and special offers on some of the most sought-after smartphones in the market.”

To stay updated on the latest developments and exclusive deals during Konga Brand Week, shoppers are encouraged to connect with Konga across all platforms, including social media and the Konga website. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to score big savings and elevate your tech game with Infinix and Konga.


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Study Reveals Software Programmers to make Full Use of AI Code Assistants

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Gartner predicts that by 2028, 75 percent of enterprise software engineers will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) code assistants, up from less than 10 percent, currently.

According to a Gartner poll of 598 global respondents conducted in the third quarter of 2023, 63 percent of organisations are now testing, deploying, or have previously implemented AI code assistants.

AI code assistants provide for more capabilities than only code development and completion, notes the research firm.

According to Gartner, the use of AI code assistants can lead to higher work satisfaction and retention, resulting in lower turnover costs.

Philip Walsh, senior principal analyst at Gartner, comments: “Software engineering leaders must determine ROI and build a business case as they scale their rollouts of AI code assistants.

“However, traditional ROI frameworks steer engineering leaders toward metrics centred on cost reduction. This narrow perspective fails to capture the full value of AI code assistants.”

Gartner notes that software engineering leaders must “reframe the ROI conversation from cost reduction to value generations”.

Walsh adds: “Calculating time savings on code generation is a good place to begin building a more robust value story. To convey the full enterprise value story for AI code assistants, software engineering leaders should connect value enablers to impacts, and then analyse the overall return to the organisation.”

 


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