Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Google has been an influential figure in technology. Starting out as a search engine, it has developed far beyond what it initially was. Google Trends Expert Luma Hamade is here to discuss Google’s various milestones.
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Google 25th Anniversary Transcription
00:00 – Announcer: Mason Vera Paine.
00:01 – Mason Paine: Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Google has revolutionized the technology industry. Starting out as just a search engine, it has evolved into so much more than that. Joining me to discuss Google’s journey is Google trends expert, Luma Hamade. Thanks for joining me, Luma.
00:17 – Luma Hamade: Yeah, I’m super glad to be here.
00:19 – Mason Paine: So what happened? Google was just a search engine, and now it’s this huge company. Was that always the dream?
00:27– Luma Hamade: When we talk about the start of Google, it really started in 1996 when Larry and Serge, who were both PhD students at Stanford, found out how to create a search algorithm that was based off of what we call relevancy. Making sure that when you’re searching for something such as a dog crate as an example, you’re not getting a bunch of links for dog adoption because we’re assuming you already have a dog or have those plans. That search engine, as you correctly mentioned, became really popular. In 1998, it was incorporated into Google and Google link. When it comes to the other media that we’ve touched, we’ve definitely expanded into mass and shopping, but our core message really stays the same of just making information accessible to everyone, making information equitable for everyone. I think we’ve done a really great job at that. Looking back on 25 years, we’ve helped a lot of people, which has been really great.
1:22 – Mason Paine: Twenty-five years, that’s a really long time. There’s got to be some notable achievements. What are some of the biggest things that Google has done so far?
1:30 – Luma Hamade: I think everybody has a story of a Google product that’s changed their lives. For me personally, one of those stories was in 2006 when we created Google Translate. I come from a very multicultural family. A lot of people in my family speak many different languages. English actually wasn’t my first language, although I hope you can’t tell at this point in time. Having that accessibility to translate in real time and communicate with each other was really, really huge for my family. Going forward, the work that we’ve done on the translation front hasn’t stopped. We also have this new product called Lens. You can think of it like your camera lens, where you can actually point at a sign or a menu that’s in a different language and it’ll translate it for you right away. It’s making things like travel so much easier, connections to people so much easier.
2:23 – Mason Paine: It’s true. I never thought about it until you started saying how things that changed your life and password manager changed my life because I don’t have to remember anything.
2:35 – Luma Hamade: I Love that.
2:38 – Luma Hamade: I don’t because I have really long passwords now, uppercase, lowercase, special characters. I’m like, What am I doing? I can’t remember too much. I end up using the same one over and over again. But with password manager, I’ve gotten so lazy.
2:56 – Luma Hamade: Oh, my gosh. I still feel that. I feel the same, too, with shopping. You used to have to go into 10-plus stores to find what you wanted. Now you can look it up and see the inventory within two seconds and walk into the place that has actually what you need. I just think so much time has been saved for everyone, and now we can use that time to do things that we’re truly passionate about.
3:17 – Mason Paine: Yeah, and there’s a lot of things I think Google has done, even the little things, Gmail, that has taken off. But what about the things that didn’t quite take off? One of them is Google Plus, the social media that they had. What other products that Google had that didn’t quite take off?
3:36 – Luma Hamade: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think in a world where we have so many impactful products, there’s obviously some experiments that we did that didn’t take off. I remember when I, maybe a decade ago was using Google Buzz. I don’t know if you remember Google Buzz, but I loved it, and then we ended up not moving forward with it and I was heartbroken. But I think that something that we’ve done to innovate on those experiments is we’ve made the new products that we’re testing available to the public before we released them. One example of this is conversational search. If you go to lab. Google, you can actually access a new feature that we’re currently testing. It looks very similar to your current search page, but what you can do is you can ask follow-up to your search. As an example, if you’re looking at, What is the cheapest bike near me?, it’ll give you the answers in the regular search format that you’re used to. But then you can ask, Can you sort these answers by red bikes only? You don’t have to restart your search every time you’re looking for something. That’s just one example of a new experiment that we’re trying.
4:41 – Luma Hamade: I highly encourage everyone to play with it, give us feedback on Labs. Google.
4:46 – Mason Paine: Wow, that actually sounds pretty cool. I like that a lot because sometimes you do find new information within the search and you’re like, Okay, I have to do a brand new search and you have to tweak it a little bit and it just ends up getting jarbled.
5:00– Luma Hamade: 100 %. And in a world where 15 % of our searches every single day are new, we’re realizing now that the follow-up is a really important factor to a person’s journey and getting new information. Same with when you’re looking for homework help or job help or just trying to understand the concept, being able to ask that second question is going to be really revolutionary.
5:22 – Mason Paine: Now that we’re on the topic of searching and using the search engine, I’m a little curious. Have you guys ever looked at what people were searching at throughout the 25 years? I was like, Man, we need to really focus on something innovative to help these people because everybody’s searching for it.
5:38 – Luma Hamade: Yeah. Oh, my gosh, absolutely. I look at the trends in real time on trends. Google. Com because I am so interested in this as a concept. But something that is really interesting, and I’ll give you a few examples, is a selfie. So, selfie spiked for the first time in 2013. However, the front camera on phones, whether they be a pixel or an iPhone or whatever phone you were using, those were around for three to four years prior to that. It wasn’t until celebrities started taking selfies and posting selfies that people started to care about the front camera. But once it started to spike, leaders across the whole tech industry, not just at Google, realized, okay, we need to invest in making the front camera a higher quality.
6:20 – Mason Paine: That’s cool because I’m not a selfie person, but I do love how the technology of the cameras have just flourished. I think it’s really cool that in the past you had to have this really powerful camera, and now it’s like, now I’m going to put my cell phone out. I got this, guys.
6:39 – Luma Hamade: Yes, absolutely. My mom is a big photographer, so I have so many memories of her lugging around 16 Canon cameras. Now we have that at our fingertips, which is really amazing.
6:53 – Mason Paine: I’m curious, is there anything that Google is doing that you’ve noticed that users aren’t really utilizing and you wish they would?
7:01 – Luma Hamade: Yeah. Actually, it’s funny that you say that because we released a feature around two years ago called hum to search. Most people don’t know about it. But essentially, if you have a song stuck in your head, you don’t know the lyrics, all you can truly remember is a melody that you heard at a restaurant one time. You can actually click the microphone button in search and hum the melody and it will tell you what song you’re thinking about.
7:27 – Mason Paine: What? I didn’t even know that existed. Okay, so if I was on my phone and I just go to google. Com and I just press inside the search bar and my microphone will prompt and you just hum it.
7:40 – Luma Hamade: Yes. You’ll see a microphone button. It’s usually like gray. You can click on it on mobile and you just hum the melody and our AI will pull up the song and details about the artist for you.
7:54 – Mason Paine: See, I’m a horrible singer. I’m going to have to try that out later and see if this actually works.
8:00 – Luma Hamade: Yeah, it’s a really fun one.
8:03 – Mason Paine: I’m curious, what’s a feature that you like? You personally use a lot and you’re like, this is the feature people need to use.
8:10 – Luma Hamade: Oh, that’s such a great question. I’ll give you two. The first is an easier one, which is popular time. So in math, we actually aggregate data on what times certain restaurants and stores are the most traffic heavy or are the most crowded. You can actually strategically plan your visit at a time that’s crowded. You can also actually bring your map offline. Let’s say you’re traveling, for example, you’re in Paris and you want to visit a few bakeries, but you don’t have a cell data plan that will be able to do that for you. You can actually download the Google map and access it without any cell phone plan. We can fully give it to you offline. That’s the first one. The second one that I think is amazing is through Lens. You can take a picture of any furniture that you like, whether it’s at your office, a restaurant, your friend’s house, and it will analyze the picture and give you a few links of where to buy that furniture.
9:12 – Mason Paine: Wow, that is cool. That is cool. It’s like Google Lens, but not really.
9:21 – Luma Hamade: Yes, it’s still a part of our Lens technology, but we’re just expanding the amount of things that you can do with it. Lens, you can shop for products, whether it be clothing or furniture, you can have it help you with your homework. If you want to take a picture of your math problem, it can help you solve it. And as I mentioned, all the translation features as well.
9:40 – Mason Paine: I didn’t know it was that extensive. I’m just looking at bugs. It’s like, what is this bug? It’s like the most I use it for is I’m like, okay, I see this bug on my tree. Is it good or bad?
9:56 – Luma Hamade: Oh, my gosh, I love that. I love bugs and I like to do it for plants too. I’m glad that you mentioned that because I thought I was the only one using it for nature, but I think it’s so cool.
10:07 – Mason Paine: That’s like exclusively. That’s the only thing I use it for. Is this a weed? Should I be pulling this? Because I’m so bad at recognizing things.
10:18 – Luma Hamade: It’s same here. That’s so great.
10:21 – Mason Paine: Thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate you being here. And for those listening, where can they find all this great stuff at?
10:28 – Luma Hamade: Yep. So if you want to take a look at Google trends throughout the years, I would go to trends. Google. Com. And if you want to test out some of our new products, I would go to labs. Google. Com, and you can take a look at all of our new stuff.
10:42 – Mason Paine: This has been the Mason Vera Paine Show.
10:45 – Luma Hamade: Thanks for listening.
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