Amazon launches new search functions on mobile to rival Google

Amazon is rolling out new features to improve its search capabilities on mobile.

In a bid to rival search engines like Google and Pinterest, the retail giant is launching new search and discovery tools, including:

  • Multimodal search (the ability to search using both text and images)
  • Expanded AR features
  • Find-on-Amazon (a new tool that identifies similar products to those in a photo you share directly with the Amazon app)

Why we care. Although each update may seem inconsequential on its own, together, these new tools can influence how consumers search for products and redirect more searches to Amazon. Consequently, these changes could affect Google’s advertising revenue, as Amazon has been closing in on the dominant position held by Google and Meta in digital ad spending.

Multimodal search. This new tool, which is an improvement on Amazon’s existing visuals search engine, allows consumers to add text as well as images to search for matching products. For example, if you need a replacement part for an appliance, you can snap a photo of the part and include the appliance’s name, such as “Frigidaire.”

Expanded AR efforts. Amazon’s augmented reality tool, initially used for visualizing furniture and decor in your space, now extends to smaller items such as lamps and appliances such as toasters and coffee machines. With this AR feature, you can also rearrange items from one surface to another.

Find-on-Amazon. With this tool, you can search for products using a photo from anywhere. If you see something you like on social media, while browsing the web, reading emails, or chatting online, you can tap the “Share” button and send the image to the Amazon Shopping app. This allows the app to find visually similar products even if you don’t know their name or how to describe them.

More updates. Amazon announced that in addition to the changes mentioned above, it is also rolling out other smaller improvements, including:

  • The introduction of sales trend data next to listings (for example, how many items were bought in the past month).
  • An improved way to easily search for previously purchased items.

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What has Amazon said? An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement:

  • “We are always testing new features and honing existing ones to see what works best to help customers in every phase of their shopping journey.”
  • “We know that customer trust is hard to win and easy to lose, so we pay close attention to customer feedback about the shopping experience on Amazon.”
  • “We’re always experimenting with ways to make it even easier to shop our store. This means that sometimes things may look different as we test new features, but our mission remains the same: to help you find what you’re looking for.”

Deep dive. Read Amazon’s Search and Shop announcement in full for more information.

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