Raka Weekly Roundup: Google Neural Matching, Instagram Founders Split and Snapchat Goes Shopping

By Raka October 13, 2023

Welcome to the Raka Weekly Roundup, where we cover the week’s news and trends and tell you exactly what you need to know. This week, Google puts AI neural matching to the test, Instagram’s two founders leave the company, and Snapchat is next to announce the ability to shop on the platform.

Google’s neural matching connects words to concepts

Over the past few months, Google has started using neural matching to better understand synonyms. That will ultimately help you find what you’re searching for with greater accuracy and speed. So far, it’s been used on about 30 percent of the queries users are making on a daily basis.

So how does it work?

According to Google’s official announcement, “We’ve now reached the point where neural networks can help us take a major leap forward from understanding words to understanding concepts. Neural embeddings, an approach developed in the field of neural networks, allow us to transform words to fuzzier representations of the underlying concepts, and then match the concepts in the query with the concepts in the document. We call this technique neural matching.”

Essentially, an algorithm matches a search query to a specific web page going beyond keywords and synonyms by focusing on the concepts included on the page. It’s looking at how the content on the webpage might solve the problem or answer the question the searcher is looking for by looking deeper at intent and suitability, rather than just keywords.

It remains to be seen what the accuracy is for this new feature, but if you can find a better answer, faster when doing a search then kudos to Google. We’ll see what changes come for marketers as a result of this in the months ahead.

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Instagram co-founders departure creates curiosity

Earlier this week, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced they’re leaving Instagram. Everyone is quite naturally wondering why.

On their website, Systrom made this announcement, “We’re planning on leaving Instagram to explore our curiosity and creativity again. Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”

Seems like a reasonable statement since they’ve been building the company for eight years, but of course there has to be more to it than that. Did Systrom and Zuckerberg knock heads? Are the co-founders sick of all of the negative press Facebook has gotten over the last several months about questionable ethics and processes? Are they concerned about the possibility of the government stepping in to regu­late the in­dus­try as reported in the Washington Post? We doubt it’s as simple as just wanting to try a new adventure.

We’ll see if we get an answer, but no matter who is running the platform, we’re hopeful it will continue to be a terrific tool for growing brand awareness.

Snapchat is jumping on the shopping bandwagon

Last week we told you about Instagram’s foray into the shopping world, and now Snapchat is following suit.

The company is teaming up with Amazon to roll out a new visual product search feature that allows you to take a picture or scan the barcode of something you want to buy bringing up a card on your phone showing that item and similar items with the price, name, thumbnail of the product, average review score, and availability.

Like what you see? Tap on it and you’ll be sent to Amazon to be able to purchase it. Snapchat will be rolling this new feature out to a small US audience soon and depending on the interest, future US and global launches may follow.

It’s just one more way to bring simplicity to our lives, but hopefully not put us into a bigger mountain of debt because of it. Buyer beware!

If you’d like to talk about these trends, or need help getting any of your marketing initiatives off the ground, reach out to us!

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