Google has announced at its Google I/O 2023 conference that it is upgrading its search engine with new generative AI features. The new “Search Generative Experience” will enable users to better understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints, and insights, and get things done more easily. The new generative AI capabilities will display a colored block with key information about the topic and a couple of relevant web links at the top of the search results page. Users can also ask follow-up questions and access a new conversational mode from the search results page.
Search Generative Experience Will Be Launched as a Limited Preview First
Google designed this new Search Generative Experience to “highlight and drive attention to content on the web” so that the web publisher will not suffer a traffic drop. Additionally, this new feature will continue to display ads, which will also help users do their shopping across the web. The Search Generative Experience will be launched as a limited preview on Chrome desktop and the Google mobile app in the US in the coming weeks, and users will need to sign up for the Search Labs waitlist to get early access to it.
Google's new feature has some similarities to Microsoft's new AI-powered Bing. However, Google's generative AI technology will focus on generating relevant and accurate information rather than engaging in conversations or creating an anthropomorphized persona. The technology is very early on and has its challenges, and Google is expected to make mistakes. However, the company is moving quickly to add ChatGPT-like features to search.
Google´s Generative AI Pulls Information From Different Sources
The new generative AI technology will pull information from different sources across the web and provide users with synthesized text in response to their queries. For instance, if a user queries about the coronation of Britain's new king, Google's AI technology will provide a couple of paragraphs summarizing the event. If a user asks about ebikes, Google's AI will provide bullet-point recaps of product reviews published by various websites and link to online stores where users can purchase them.
However, Google's generative AI technology will avoid topics that might be deemed controversial, such as politics and medical or financial advice. When asked if Joe Biden is a good president or for information about different US states' abortion laws, for example, Google's generative AI declined to answer.
Google has invested huge sums and major resources in AI over recent years, with CEO Sundar Pichai often calling the company “AI first”. However, Google found itself wrong-footed with the arrival of ChatGPT, a surprisingly clever and garrulous chatbot from OpenAI. Google's new generative AI technology is expected to provide a more useful search experience for users while addressing some of the shortcomings of the company's previous search capabilities.