Earlier this year, Google added artificial intelligence in its online shopping tool to show how clothing from online retailers will fit different body types. Now that feature has expanded to men’s tops. It’s another move in Google’s push to incorporate generative AI — or AI that can create content based on training data when prompted — across its range of products and online services.
The new Google shopping feature, which launches today with brands like Anthropologie, Everlane, H&M and Loft, uses AI to generate an image of the article of clothing on a real model, with the goal being to show how clothing sizes look on actual people. It’s the latest effort by major Internet companies and retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, to upgrade the home shopping and virtual try-on experience.
These new AI-enhanced shopping features are a part of Search Generative Experience, an experimental version of Google Search that requires you to sign up.
While Google is using AI to generate imagery of the desired article of clothing, it uses real people to show how that clothing fits. Shyam Sunder, a group product manager at Google responsible for the virtual try-on feature, said at a press briefing that the company hired 80 models (40 women and 40 men) to create this shopping option.
Sunder said Google only needs one image of an article of clothing from a retailer’s website to create an AI-crafted representation of that item on a model. Google’s technology can show how the material would “drape, fold, cling, stretch and form wrinkles and shadows,” Lilian Rincon, Google’s senior director of consumer shopping product, wrote in a company blog post. Google will support women’s tops at launch with this feature, but says it plans to expand to other categories as well.
In a demonstration, multiple models with different body types were also shown for each size option. The company said it selected models with different skin tones and whose clothing sizes range from double extra small to quadruple extra large. In addition to browsing through sizes, you’ll also be able to find similar products in different prices, colors and patterns.
Tech and retail giants in the past have attempted to make the process of trying on clothes easier. Last year, Walmart announced a feature that’s very similar to Google’s. Called Choose My Model, it lets users pick from among 50 models of different heights, sizes, body shapes and skin tones to see how clothing would look. Amazon also announced a virtual try-on feature for shoes last year.
But Google’s announcement reflects the broader shift among tech giants to embrace generative AI and infuse it into their most important products. Google’s I/O developers conference, which is where the company typically provides updates on new products and technologies, was all about AI. (In fact, the company mentioned the word AI more than 140 times during its keynote address.)
Microsoft has also made the technology a major focus in products like Bing and Windows. Amazon is also reportedly working on a new ChatGPT-style search for its sprawling store, according to Bloomberg.
Editors’ note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.