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Everything you need to know about the Google MUM update

by Mary Sewell

30-second summary:

  • Google’s Multitask Unified Model (MUM) update landed in June 2021, seeking to deliver search results that overcome language and format barriers to have an improved search experience
  • The Google MUM update uses an innovative solution that accesses a wealth of previously hidden information around a core query, providing more of what we want without carrying out multiple different searches.
  • Google MUM can understand and translate 75 languages, including text and images.
  • MUM will see us bid farewell to BERT

They say Mum always knows best but can the same be said for Google’s MUM update? Giant search engine Google launched their latest update as the answer we have been looking for to make internet searching more intuitive and inclusive. But what does this mean for website owners, SEO practitioners, and agencies providing marketing services?



What is Google’s MUM update?

The Google Multitask Unified Model (MUM) update aims to answer modern search demands using an AI-powered algorithm to improve online search capability. When searching the internet, users face multiple searches contradictory to expectations and geographical and language barriers due to a lack of intuition on the search engine. Google’s MUM will remove the need to conduct various searches that users currently do to compare and gain deeper insights. It can understand and bring solutions based not just on textual content but also on an interpretation of images, videos, and podcasts in a way never possible.

Google MUM will redefine search relevance, changing how people access and use information across the world wide web. It understands 75 languages, which implies that it can pool and serve results to give users the most holistic and comprehensive search experience, answering even the most complex queries. This, however, needs to be taken with a pinch of salt that not all content can be trusted and would eventually boil down to user discretion. The MUM update means searches will serve information that provides helpful, related insights and will reach further for these sources than any other search engine update before it.

Google believes that the MUM update is the answer.

Although the algorithm will continue to see iterations in its early days, it certainly looks to be an exciting move that Google is committed to building on. How? Google intends to follow these to ensure they can make it “the world’s best MUM” and remove any machine learning biases:

  • Human feedback from raters using the Search Quality Rater Guidelines will help understand how people find information
  • Similar to 2019’s BERT update, MUM too will undergo the same process applied to Google search models
  • Applying learnings from their latest research on how to reduce the carbon footprint of large neural network training systems to ensure search continues to function as efficiently as possible

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