Earlier this year, Google added artificial intelligence to its online shopping tool to show how clothes from online retailers would fit different body types. Now this feature has expanded to include men’s tops. It’s the next step in Google’s push to incorporate generative AI – that is, AI that can create content from training data when asked – into its range of online products and services.
The new Google Shopping feature, which launches today for brands including Anthropologie, Everlane, H&M and Loft, uses artificial intelligence to generate an image of a clothing item on a real model, with the goal of showing what clothing sizes look like on real people. It’s the latest effort by major online companies and retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, to improve home shopping and virtual trying-on experiences.
These new AI-powered shopping features are part of Search Generative Experience, an experimental version of Google Search that requires registration.
While Google uses artificial intelligence to generate photos of a desired clothing item, it uses real people to show how that outfit fits. Shyam Sunder, group product manager at Google responsible for the virtual try-on feature, said at a press conference that the company had hired 80 models (40 women and 40 men) to create this shopping option.
Sunder said Google only needs one photo of a clothing item from a seller’s website to create an artificial representation of that item on the model. Google’s technology can show how the material will “scratch, fold, adhere, stretch, and create wrinkles and shadows,” Lilian Rincon, senior director of consumer products at Google, wrote in a company blog post. Google will support the feature when women’s tops launch, but says it plans to expand it to other categories as well.
The demo also featured multiple models with different body types for each size option. The company said it selected models with a variety of skin tones and whose clothing sizes range from twice-extra-small to quadruple-extra-large. In addition to viewing sizes, you’ll also be able to find similar products in a variety of prices, colors and designs.
In the past, tech and retail giants have tried to make the process of trying on clothes easier. Last year, Walmart announced a feature very similar to the one offered by Google. Called Select My modelallows users to choose from 50 models of different heights, sizes, body shapes and skin tones to see what the clothes will look like. Amazon also announced virtual rehearsal function for shoes last year.
However, Google’s announcement reflects a broader shift among tech giants to embrace generative AI and use it in their most important products. Google’s I/O developer conference, where the company usually presents updates on new products and technologies, was focused on artificial intelligence. (In fact, the company mentioned the word AI more than 140 times during its keynote).
Microsoft has also placed a heavy emphasis on this technology in products such as Bing and Windows. Amazon is also reportedly working on a new ChatGPT-style search engine for its sprawling store Bloomberg.
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