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Local Memo: Google Announces The Rollout of AI-Powered Search at I/O


This week’s post discusses Google’s I/O conference and the release of AI Overview in search; OpenAI’s announcement of GPT-4o and what it entails; and a recent study showcasing TikTok’s value in search. 


Local Memo: Google Announces the Rollout of AI-Powered Search at I/O


The News 


Google’s annual I/O conference took place yesterday. This developer conference is held by Google every year. Google typically makes a few notable announcements during the conference, and this year was no different. 


The biggest news that Google has released so far is that it’s officially rolling out AI-generated overviews, also known as AI Overviews, to U.S. search results. They expect AI Overviews to be rolled out to over a billion people by the end of the year. 


AI Overview is an evolution of Google’s Search Generative Experience, powered by an updated Gemini model and aimed at making the search experience easier for users. Google explains that with the Gemini model’s multi-step reasoning capabilities,“AI Overviews will help with increasingly complex questions. Rather than breaking your question into multiple searches, you can ask your most complex questions, with all the nuances and caveats you have in mind, all in one go.” 

An example of Google's AI Overview for a query around pilates studios


Google noted that the links included in AI Overviews have gotten more clicks than if the page had appeared in a traditional web listing for the same query. 


Another big announcement has to do with video search functionality. Google explained that users can now ask questions and search with a video. This takes some guesswork out of figuring out how to ask the right questions. 


For instance, if you bought a new laptop and are having trouble setting it up, you can record the issue you’re having and put it into Google, and it’ll help you figure out the problem rather than having to figure out how to describe it verbally. 


Why This Matters 


Google rolling out its AI Overview more widely will likely impact how businesses appear in search results. We anticipate the search results in AI Overviews will differ in many ways from traditional search results. 


If you’re already optimizing your local profiles on top platforms as well as your local landing pages, your brand may not need to make any drastic changes to its local SEO strategy. But you’ll want to check out how your brand appears in AI-generated results. Our recent blog can help you navigate the world of generative engine optimization (GEO), the new SEO for generative AI results. 


OpenAI Announces GPT-4o


The News


On Monday, OpenAI announced its new flagship generative AI model, GPT-4o. The “o” stands for omni and highlights the tool’s ability to handle speech, video, and text. So what’s the difference between GPT-4o, GPT-4, and GPT-3.5? 


OpenAI’s CTO, Mira Murati, explained that GPT-4o will have GPT-4-level intelligence and the ability to reason across text, voice, and vision. GPT-4o should improve the user experience when using OpenAI’s ChatGPT. For instance, with GPT-4o, users can ask ChatGPT a question and interrupt it while it’s responding. 


Gpt-4o will offer real-time responses and also upgrades ChatGPT’s vision capabilities. Now, you can give ChatGPT a picture and ask it a question related to it. For instance, you can share a picture of an outfit and ask what brand the jeans are. 


Why This Matters


As a marketer, it’s essential to be aware of the changes to these generative AI tools. For instance, after the release of GPT-4o, we tested ChatGPT and found that it could cite sources for “near me” queries better than it had in the past. 


When we asked it for “grocery stores near me,” it was able to list the grocery store, share a brief description of the store, and link to its website. Before GPT-4o’s release, ChatGPT didn’t cite sources unless specifically asked. 


An example of responses from ChatGPT using GPT-4o, which now includes sources


Seeing how your brand is performing in relevant searches using ChatGPT can help you understand where your brand is already appearing well and where there’s room for improvement. 



TikTok ShowCases its Value in Local Search 


The News


TikTok released some new insights last week, showcasing that they’re a platform where brand discovery thrives. The insights came from a study that TikTok conducted in partnership with Material. While the results weren’t surprising, they re-emphasize that social platforms are becoming increasingly popular for discovery. 


The research found that:


  • 61% of TikTok users have discovered new brands and products on the platform — 1.5x more than other platforms. 


  • 50% of TikTok users go to the platform to research products or brands. 


  • Of those inspired to do something because of a search on TikTok, 91% followed through and acted.


The data speaks for itself and further showcases that TikTok has become a prominent platform for creating and capturing brand demand. 



Why This Matters 


Although recent legislation has cast the future of TikTok into doubt, it’s become increasingly clear that people, particularly younger consumers, are using it for more than entertainment. If your brand is looking at ways to expand its social media presence, TikTok may be a solid next step. 


If your brand is not ready to take that step, it’s worth keeping an eye on the traction TikTok is getting and understanding how brands use it as a marketing tool.

Darcy Bickham

As SOCi’s Content Marketing Manager, Darcy Bickham specializes in creating the strategy and developing the content around both localized and digital marketing trends for the SOCi brand. Through her content writing, Darcy has helped to position SOCi as the marketing platform for multi-location brands.

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