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Processing natural language has always been a tough challenge for search engines. But Google has massively invested in artificial intelligence and they have recently announced that they are about to introduce a new algorithm called MUM (Multitask United Model) which is, as they say, 1000 times more sophisticated compared to its predecessor BERT algorithm.

What is MUM Exactly?

MUM is a language processing model and is a lot similar to BERT which was introduced in 2019. BERT was a really powerful language model and was considered to be a breakthrough at its time. But according to Google, MUM is going to be 1000 times more powerful.

One of the fundamental advantages of MUM is its capability to multitask. It doesn’t need to do the tasks step by step, but can manage multiple tasks at the same time. For example, it can read and understand the texts, gather deep knowledge regarding the topic and after that, search its database comprised of 75 languages in order to form a multi-faceted answer to complex questions. And MUM does that all at once!

How Powerful is MUM?

In 2021, Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan explained how this new innovation works. He used this search query as an example: “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?” If you want to gain information about these things at the present time, you would definitely need to do a couple of separate searches. MUM however, has this built-in ability to combine the relevant information from various sources. For instance, it would inspect the Japanese sources to understand that it is the rainy season of the year and then would suggest wearing a raincoat!

Machines and computer systems are not yet able to fully understand human language, but BERT and MUM have this potency to comprehend it. Though, BERT, unlike MUM, cannot analyse complex structures and also cannot multitask. One of the amazing features that MUM possesses is its ability to add images and videos to the search results in order to enrich them. Imagine you ask this from Google: “I have designed a site, but it doesn’t have high rank in search results, how can I find local SEO Melbourne companies”. And the results would include videos or podcasts of the companies as well as how to reach them. Interestingly, you can also point your camera to your boots on Google Lens and ask if they are fit for climbing Mt. Fuji!

The Era of AI

Google is moving towards becoming an entirely AI-based search engine. At a high pace, Google is opening up to searches that come from different devices and sources like microphones, cameras and TVs. And in order for search engines to handle such searches, they have to change. For example, you must be able to use microphone to search something and Google must understand your query and then vocalise the best answer(s).

LaMDA: A Language Model to Communicate with AI

Another game-changer that Google talked about in 2021 IO was LaMDA or Language Model for Dialogue Applications. This technology enables users to communicate with systems that are based on Artificial Intelligence such as chatbots. The advantage of LaMDA is that, unlike older AI’s, it does not easily get confused with a switch of topic; so, it has this competence to maneuver over various subjects during a long conversation. It acquires deep knowledge about the topics and engages in a real dialogue which is two-way. Google showed a glimpse of how this newly-developed system works, when it started to discuss on the planet Pluto with a scientist. It is not yet totally ready, but we can image how AI is shaping the future.

Putting MUM into Operation

MUM is currently being tested and when ready, it will replace BERT or will work together with it complementarily. The emergence of MUM will enhance the search results to a great extent. Combining information from multiple sources as well as multitasking is a feature that will bring the world of searching to a new level. You won’t need to worry about customising your content with the questions the users would search, because Google itself finds the best answer. Therefore, you can focus on building your brand and expanding your online presence.

·         End of Keywords

As mentioned before, MUM will actively communicate with the users and then, it won’t need to get some specific keywords from their search queries. Also, it won’t have to look for just keywords on the web, since it uses various types of means for gathering information.

·         Less dependence on written content

It doesn’t mean that written content will be marginalised. Still the blogs and pages with written content are important, nevertheless, Google will use other forms of content like photos and videos to enrich its search results. For example, if in a podcast there exist some information about an art exhibition, Google will realise it and will add that information to the search results.

·         More Competition

With MUM, there will be no language barrier in the way of searching. As a result, you will have to compete with the information produced all over the world and not just in your language. This would create an insane competition over winning the attention of the audience and producing highly ranked content.