Google is transforming the landscape of web search with the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into its search results. Unlike the common perception of AI as chatbots or interface redesigns, Google AI is front and center in the most coveted territory on the internet – its existing search results.
The New Search
During a demonstration, Liz Reid, Google’s VP of Search, showcased the new feature by typing a query into the Google search box. As the traditional search results loaded promptly, a pulsating orange section appeared above them, proclaiming “Generative AI is experimental.” Within seconds, the glowing section transformed into a Google AI-generated summary, offering a comprehensive overview of the popularity of sourdough bread, including its delightful taste and beneficial prebiotic properties. Accompanying the summary were three corroborating links to external sources.
This innovative feature, known as the “AI snapshot,” relies on Google’s advanced language models and draws information from the open web. By clicking on the “bear claw” icon, which resembles a hamburger menu with a vertical line, users can explore a sentence-by-sentence breakdown of the AI-generated content, with links to the sources supporting each specific sentence.
Reid emphasizes the significance of this corroboration, distinguishing Google’s AI implementation from others. The objective is for the language model to provide additional sources to read when it presents information. Google aims to empower users to delve deeper into topics and obtain a more comprehensive understanding.
Reid proceeds with another search, this time for the best Bluetooth speakers for the beach. As expected, standard search results swiftly appear, followed by AI-generated content that highlights key features to consider when selecting a speaker. On the right-hand side, three buying guides are provided, and below are shopping links for various recommended options, each accompanied by a Google AI-generated summary. Users can further refine their search by specifying a budget, triggering the regeneration of the snapshot with updated summaries and product suggestions.
Putting Google AI at the Forefront
The new appearance of Google’s search results page embraces an AI-first approach, featuring vibrant colors and delivering an experience distinct from what users are accustomed to. This transformation is powered by Google’s cutting-edge language models, such as the versatile PaLM 2 and the Multitask Unified Model (MUM), which comprehends various forms of media. In the demos witnessed, the results were consistently impressive, revolutionizing the search experience, particularly on mobile devices where the AI snapshot often occupies the entire first page of results.
To access these AI snapshots, users must opt into a new feature called Search Generative Experience (SGE), part of the broader Search Labs initiative. AI-generated content only appears when Google’s algorithms determine it to be more useful than standard results. However, sensitive topics like health and finances currently remain free from AI interference. The feature exhibited its capabilities across a range of searches. While AI does not eliminate the traditional blue links, it certainly relegates them lower on the page.
New Google AI-Powered Search Engine Revealed
Still in its Experimental Stage
Google executives reiterate that SGE is an experiment. Nonetheless, they firmly believe it represents a fundamental, long-term shift in the search paradigm. Google AI introduces an additional layer of input, facilitating the formulation of better and more nuanced queries. Moreover, it offers a richer output by answering questions while guiding users toward new avenues of exploration.
The opt-in box placed prominently at the top of search results may appear insignificant when compared to Microsoft’s AI-driven Bing redesign or the novelty of ChatGPT. However, SGE marks the initial stride in a complete reimagining of how billions of individuals discover information online – and how Google monetizes its services. As far as internet pixels go, these changes are momentous, reshaping the way we navigate the digital