2021 Google I/O Conference: Quick Recap

It’s that time of the year again, that’s right, time for Google I/O

As digital marketers, we are more invested than the average human in the monster that is Google so our team always looks forward to hearing how the tech giant is making moves across its consumer and partner products/services.

This year was especially interesting, amid the efforts made to help not only businesses evolve but also individuals and communities get through the difficulties the pandemic thrust upon us.

Google remains optimistic that technology can help us address the challenges we face, together.

-- Sundar Pichai, CEO (Google)

Below, we break down the key takeaways for digital marketers from this year’s keynote. To follow along more closely, check out all program content from 2021 here. Let's jump in!

Privacy is a core focus for Google across all its products and services.

Private by Design, Secure by Default

Protecting our information is crucial as technology continues to progress, therefore, Google’s products being driven by the following core principles has become even more imperative:

  1. Treating our information responsibly
  2. Protecting it with world-class security
  3. Keeping us, the users, in control

In order to make all three of those happen, Google is making every day safer with new and easy ways to personalize how we secure our Google Accounts, and more.

New SERP Safety Features

They are also rolling out five new ways to keep Google searching safe, including fighting spam, encrypting searches, and protecting the user from bad ads. Google wants to make the searching experience as positive and productive as possible for both the searcher and the businesses/advertisers on the SERP. 

As part of this, they are rolling out a new SERP feature that will provide additional context to most of the results seen on the SERP. This will include a little bit more about the original results, as well as information on where it’s coming from (i.e. Wikipedia or other sources).

New call-to-action


Significant advancements in AI and ML are making Google more helpful.

Meet Google’s MUM

The Search team at Google is hard at work continuing to find ways to optimize the overall experience for everyone involved.

One of these optimizations being Google MUM: A new AI milestone for understanding information.

VP of Google Search, Pandu Nayak, calls out the following as just one example of how this new AI milestone can be put into action:

“Take this scenario: You’ve hiked Mt. Adams. Now you want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, and you want to know what to do differently to prepare. Today, Google could help you with this, but it would take many thoughtfully considered searches — you’d have to search for the elevation of each mountain, the average temperature in the fall, difficulty of the hiking trails, the right gear to use, and more. After a number of searches, you’d eventually be able to get the answer you need.

But if you were talking to a hiking expert; you could ask one question — “what should I do differently to prepare?” You’d get a thoughtful answer that takes into account the nuances of your task at hand and guides you through the many things to consider.“

Conversations with LaMDA

LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), Google’s breakthrough conversation technology, is only the second of its latest milestone AI advancements. 

Because human nature tends to steer conversation in a way that’s unpredictable and open-ended, the technology for predicting conversation hasn’t since existed in this form. As we know them, chatbots follow relatively predefined paths rather than the “meandering” nature of our conversations.

LaMDA, however, engages in a much more "free-flowing" way about a potentially limitless number of topics.

Read our guide to why linguistics and natural language are important for SEOs to get more background.


Making strides to improve the online shopping experience for everyone.

Shopping Grapth Showcase

There were plenty of updates about Google's Shopping Graph this year -- specifically how it's being used to provide consumers with more ways to explore and shop online while making it easier for sellers of all sizes to connect with those consumers and buyers.

Bill Ready, President of Commerce & Payments, says: 

“We want to help people discover, learn about and shop for the products they love — whether those products come from a big-box retailer, new direct-to-consumer brands or the mom-and-pop shop down the street. Two concrete steps we’ve taken to support discoverability for all merchants are eliminating commission fees and making it free for sellers on Google.”

Shopify <> Google Unite

In order to provide support for more merchants to get discovered on Google -- they announced an expanded partnership with Shopify. According to official sources, this will allow 1.7 million merchants to reach buyers across Google products including Search, Shopping, YouTube, etc. 

Shop What You See with Lens

Lastly, Google is helping information captured in images and videos come to life with updates and enhancements to Google Lens.

Similar to an image search on Google or even Pinterest, Google Lens lets the user search what he or she sees from the camera, photos, or even the search bar. 

Now, there's more ways for users to find the product or brand they snap a photo of and buy it themselves online.

Wrapping It Up

Don't forget to catch up on all program content from 2021 here.

Let us know what you think of the recently announced updates! And be sure to sign up for our newsletter below for more conference recaps.


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Kia Street
Kia Street
Sr. Manager, Marketing