Google MUM Can Answer Longer And More Complex Queries
Many people look for relevant content from SEO specialists to answer their questions, but this may seem impossible at times with longer and more complex queries. However, Google recently introduced a new technology called Multitask Unified Model (MUM), which is more capable of answering complex search queries. MUM could potentially change search behaviour as we know it, and SEO specialist companies will have to wait for its release before they start updating their current SEO strategies.
In an I/O conference on Tuesday, the company revealed that they are still looking for ways to use MUM to improve its understanding of language and its capability to provide more useful responses.
Google has not launched MUM yet, but they have given the public some hints on how they are developing it. Below are highlights from the company’s announcement.
Google MUM Helps Get Things Done
Today, people have to type in multiple questions to get different pieces of information and eventually answer a long and complex question. According to the company, it takes most people eight searches to finish complex tasks on average – and MUM is expected to help solve this problem.
Google aims to use MUM to help users instantly get things done with just a few searches. They envisioned a future where MUM can instantly provide users with an accurate response to more complex and longer questions.
For instance, one can ask: “I hiked Mt Adams and will hike Mt Fuji in the fall. What can I do differently to prepare?” Without MUM, people will have to type in several questions to get bits of information before they get the answer to the question.
They will have to search for the difference in the elevation of each mountain, the difficulty of the hiking trails, the average temperature in the fall, the proper gear to use, and more. With MUM, Google can compare the answer to each of the questions and provide the user with a response that a hiking expert would give if asked the same questions.
The new technology would also be able to understand the searcher’s needs to compare two mountains, which would hint to the search engine that the trail information and mountain elevation are two relevant factors. MUM will then be able to understand that the word “prepare” may involve activities like finding the right gear and fitness training.
Moreover, MUM can provide more helpful insights based on its huge database that contains information on different parts of the world. For example, it could tell details about the rainy season on Mt Fuji and advise the searcher to bring a waterproof jacket for their trip.
MUM even has the ability to provide useful topics, such as the best training exercises and high-quality gear. It would also help users find useful videos, images, and articles about the topic from across the web.
Right now, search engines are not sophisticated enough to answer complex questions in the way experts would. However, Google believes that MUM can help improve user experience, and eventually, people will only need to type in fewer questions in the search engine box to get things done.
The Technology Behind MUM
MUM, just like BERT, is built on a Transformer architecture, and it is said to be more than 1,000 times more powerful when it comes to multitasking to unlock different pieces of information in many ways.
Google also said that MUM can understand information written in 75 different languages. It means that it is more comprehensive and more capable of providing users with the most comprehensive results compared to its preceding models.
And since MUM is multimodal, it can understand information across images and texts. Google also stated that it could expand to more modalities like audio and videos in the future. This means that users can simply take a photo of their hiking boots and ask the search engine ‘Can I use these to hike Mt Fuji’, and MUM would be able to understand the search intent behind the query.
So, in the hypothetical scenario given above, MUM would inform the search if the gear in the picture is suitable. It would also redirect them to a list of recommended equipment needed for a Mt Fuji hike.
The search engine company has started their internal pilot testing of MUM and promised to apply this advanced AI technology to the search results in a responsible manner. They also said that they would have MUM undergo the same rigorous testing that previous models underwent before its launch. Google added that they would pay special attention to patterns that show bias in machine learning.
Google is going to implement a lot of AI technology updates in order for their search engine to provide a cohesive search experience. If the MUM technology succeeds, it could make information more accessible to searchers, no matter what medium they use, including videos, images, and text. Moreover, it will contribute a lot to solving language barriers.
If MUM works exactly how it was presented at I/O, it will give people the impression that Google can answer questions that were once complicated. This could change search behaviour and force businesses to adapt.
Google may launch MUM-powered features and improvements in the coming months and years. SEO specialists will have to wait until then to see the effects that MUM would have on search behaviour – if there is any. Moreover, if Google launches this new technology, competing search engines will have a more difficult challenge in boosting their market share.
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