Google announced yesterday one of, if not, the first, use case for MUM – Multitask Unified Model – in search. Google did tell us they will let us know when it is being used and here it is. They used it “to identify over 800 variations of vaccine names in more than 50 languages in a matter of seconds.”
Google said they had a challenge when it came to understanding all the names and variations for vaccine names and how people search for vaccines. This is similar to all the new names people used to search for COVID a year prior. But this time, Google said, they had MUM to aid them with the challenge.
Pandu Nayak wrote:
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.
Our ability to correctly identify all these names is critical to bringing people the latest trustworthy information about the vaccine. But identifying the different ways people refer to the vaccines all over the world is hugely time-intensive, taking hundreds of human hours.
With MUM, we were able to identify over 800 variations of vaccine names in more than 50 languages in a matter of seconds. After validating MUM’s findings, we applied them to Google Search so that people could find timely, high-quality information about COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
Google said “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.”
So I guess more to come with MUM and no, Google won’t be mum about when it uses MUM going forward.
Forum discussion at Twitter.