Google is introducing a series of experimental AI-based search features in its new Search Labs, with a focus on the Search Generative Experience (SGE). SGE, a byproduct of Google’s ongoing generative AI efforts, modifies search results to include an AI-generated information box, demoting traditional search results. Despite some early shortcomings in testing, SGE represents a fundamental shift in Google’s search result presentation.

Key Points

  • Google recently announced a series of experimental search features during Google I/O, which are now accessible via its new Search Labs.
  • Central to these experiments is the Search Generative Experience (SGE), a tool based on generative AI.
  • SGE, available on both mobile and desktop for users who opt-in, changes the display of search results by including a colorful box of AI-generated information at the top.
  • Traditional blue link search results are demoted beneath the AI information box, with shopping links maintained above the fold.
  • The AI-generated text takes a few seconds to appear, often pushing down the search results unexpectedly.
  • Search activation for the SGE is inconsistent; some searches automatically engage the generative AI, while others require a click or tap to activate.
  • Early testing of the SGE indicates it can be less reliable than traditional search results, and occasionally redundant, with known AI quirks from Google’s language model.
  • When the AI proves useful, Google offers an option for users to ask follow-up questions through an interface similar to the Bard model.
  • Competitor Microsoft Bing offers a conversational search feature via ChatGPT, which is widely available to its users as opposed to being an experiment.
  • The SGE represents a significant reshaping of search results and could have a considerable impact on how information is found on the internet.

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