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August 9, 2021

Introducing MUM (Multitask Unified Model) – the Revolutionary AI Technology Transforming Google Search

Like many mothers, Google’s MUM has a range of extraordinary abilities – except that this it appears to be a superpower on another level altogether!

MUM stands for Multitask Unified Model and it is a new way that Google understands and contextualises information.  Basically, it’s Artificial Intelligence technology that understands human language.

Google introduced the pioneering new technology at its annual I/O Conference earlier this year and although it is still in the testing phase, there’s no doubt it will ultimately revolutionise the way the tech giant delivers its search results.

There’s no indication yet as to when MUM will be rolled out, but if the rapid timeline for its algorithmic predecessor, BERT, is anything to go by, it won’t be too long before MUM’s the word on everyone’s lips.   According to Google, MUM will be a thousand times more powerful than BERT – and given that BERT is pretty impressive, this new technology is set to be a real game changer.

So, What is MUM (Multitask Unified Model)?

Essentially, MUM is a new language model designed primarily to help the search engine giant serve up better quality results for complex questions.  Although BERT is also a language model, MUM goes one better in that it can process language across various modes such as text, images, video and audio AND do multiple tasks simultaneously.

Language has long been a barrier to accessing information but with MUM proficient in 75 different languages, it will be able to access data from multiple sources more ‘thoughtfully’ than ever before. MUM’s ability to understand human language and the fact that it will be able to read, see and hear content will enable Google to generate a rich result in answer to any search query.

Another key difference is that the technology doesn’t just understand human language.  It can also generate it.

The benefits to the user will be huge.  Fewer searches required to find answers.  Faster results for complex queries.  Expert solutions and suggestions.  Search results that overcome language barriers.  Search results that are based on a deeper knowledge of the world than anyone would have ever imagined.

How Does It Work?

Google explained the concept of MUM using the following scenario.  Imagine if you’d already hiked Mt Adams (in the USA) and wanted to tackle Mt Fuji (in Japan) in the autumn.   You’d be asking Google lots of different questions about the various elevations, what equipment you’d need, weather patterns, difficulty of the hiking trails and so on.  You’ll eventually find answers but you’ll need time and patience to accumulate all the information and you’d have to ask many different search questions.

With MUM’s powerful language and multimodal abilities, you’d get more comprehensive answers to your questions – faster than ever before.

At the moment, you probably aren’t getting information about a subject unless it’s in your native language but MUM will be able to transcend language barriers and access knowledge from various sources (text, image, video and sound) before consolidating it to give you the most relevant, helpful results.

Imagine if you asked a mountaineering expert: ‘What should I do differently to prepare for Mt Fuji?’  You’d get a considered opinion and helpful suggestions based on their experience and knowledge.  MUM is that expert.

MUM would understand that you are comparing the two mountains and would serve up relevant answers drawn from its deep understanding of the subject – using its ability to access information in Japanese (among 74 other languages!).  It would also access various modalities for a full 3600 perspective on the topic.  And it would do everything at the same time.

Google even talked about incorporating MUM into Google Lens, which would enable a hiker to take a snap of their hiking boots and ask the search engine if they’re appropriate for the challenge of climbing Mt Fuji.  Imagine that!

Simply put, Google MUM will enable a better search experience.  Especially when there aren’t straight answers to search queries.   It’ll eventually be like having your own personal research assistant – who’s a world expert in everything and anything!

So How Can Your Business Prepare for This New Technology?

One of the key things you can do is ensure your website is structured properly to give Google the right information and insights.  SEO is your best friend when it comes to online visibility and there are many important things you should be doing in terms of optimising your web pages and ensuring your ongoing online visibility. If you are eager to catch up and are wondering how long SEO takes then find out more here.

If you’re interested in doing your own SEO but don’t know where to start, check out The SEO School – a new online course for business owners who want practical and proven insights into the world of SEO.  The SEO provides participants with hands-on guidance through all the essentials of SEO. Find out more or book your course at The SEO School.

If you enjoyed this article then check out “What Every Business Should Know About WordPress Website Maintenance” and “Awesome Tips For Using Google Search Console

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