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Google’s first use of the search engine tool MUM in real-world search results involved studying variations in search requests for information on the COVID-19 vaccine. MUM, which stands for Multitask Unified Model, is a new technology developed by Google to answer complex search queries.
A year ago, Google first opened up about MUM, stating that the product was in its testing stages and would be applied to search results over time. MUM aims to understand the language better and provide helpful responses, according to a recent Google announcement.
Google hopes MUM will help people accomplish complex tasks with fewer searches. Users typically conduct eight searches before completing a complex task. MUM could answer complex questions like, “I climbed Everest and now want to climb Fuji next fall.”. How should I prepare differently?
MUM and Covid-19 vaccines:
According to the company, MUM is now being used to identify over 800 keywords searchers enter to search for vaccines and deliver the latest trustworthy information in search results. “AstraZeneca, CoronaVac, Moderna, Pfizer, Sputnik, and other broadly distributed vaccines all have many different names all over the world — over 800, based on our analysis.
People searching for information about the vaccines may look for “Coronavaccin Pfizer,” “mRNA-1273,” “CoVaccine” — the list goes on.” Google was able to identify more than 800 vaccine names in more than 50 languages with MUM in a matter of seconds.
Google estimates it would have taken hundreds of human hours to identify all the names people use to refer to vaccines throughout the world without MUM.
Google applied MUM’s findings to search results so people could find timely, high-quality information about COVID-19 vaccines worldwide once they were validated. “MUM was able to do a job that should take weeks in just seconds thanks to its knowledge transfer skills. MUM can learn from and transfer knowledge across the 75+ languages it’s trained on.”
Next steps for MUM:
The vaccine search is the first and only application of MUM in search results that has been confirmed so far. MUM is expected to make searches more useful for people in the future.
It could involve improving on services that are already available or building new tools using MUM. “This first application of MUM helped us get critical information to users around the world in a timely manner, and we’re looking forward to the many ways in which MUM can make Search more useful to people in the future.
Our early testing indicates that not only will MUM be able to improve many aspects of our existing systems, but will also help us create completely new ways to search and explore information.”