On Wednesday, Google held its annual conference – Google I/O 2023 – and showed everyone what they have been working on – and there are a whole lot of them – from new devices, an updated LLM, a product testing lab, and a whole lot of AI.
OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT, Microsoft’s partnership with the company, and Microsoft’s subsequent release of the New Bing that incorporated generative AI has indeed caused quite a stir. A lot have been waiting on Google’s answer to this new threat and have been unsatisfied with the steps the company have taken the past months.
In the conference, Google shared how they are supercharging search with generative AI with their Search Generative Experience.
Improve The Search Experience
With Google’s incorporation of generative AI to search, they are taking more of the work out of searching so users will be able to understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights, and get things done easily.
What usually takes a couple of questions and searches to find what is need can be provided in just one question to search. Search can do the heavy lifting to provide exactly what is needed.
For example, asking a question like – “what’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, bryce canyon or arches” would provide you the answer that you are looking for instead of breaking it down to smaller questions, looking through the search results provided by each small question, and then piecing all the information together yourself.
An AI-powered snapshot of key information to consider, with links to dig deeper is shown.
Below the snapshot, suggested next steps can be seen, including the ability to ask follow-up questions. Tapping on these would take the user to a new conversational mode where users can further ask Google about the topic being explored. The context is also carried over from question to question to help continue on the topic being explored. Users can also find helpful jump-off points to web content and a range of perspectives.
Shopping With Generative AI
The inclusion of generative AI to search can help with the shopping experience, helping users understand the full picture, making even the most considered and complex purchase decisions faster and much easier.
When searching for a product, users will get a snapshot of noteworthy factors to consider and products that fit their search. Product descriptions, up-to-date and relevant reviews, ratings, prices, and product images are also provided.
All these features is made possible because the generative AI shopping experience is built on Google’s Shopping Graph, which is the world’s most comprehensive dataset of constantly-changing products, sellers, brands, reviews and inventory. This ensures that fresh and reliable results are provided to users.
Learn About Different Perspectives
When making decisions, either big or small, there are a lot of different factors that come into consideration – from the information available about the topic, expert insights, and also what other people have to say about it.
With the introduction of generative AI to search, getting the information needed is much faster. Aside from that, Google also sees the importance in connecting users to other people and perspectives to help them in their search and decision-making process.
A perspective filter will be released in the coming weeks and in this feature, when a user searches for a topic where they might benefit from the experiences of others, a perspective filter will appear at the top of the search results.
In this filter, long and short-form videos, images, and written posts that people have shared on discussion boards, Q&A sites, and social media platforms can be seen.
More details about the creators of these content are also provided. These include their name, profile picture, or information about the popularity of their content.
Search Ads In Dedicated Slots
With the incorporation of generative AI to search, the AI snapshot will take a good part of the top of the search results. A question that’s asked is where the ads and sponsored listings will show up.
Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the search results page. In this new search experience, advertisers will still have the opportunity to reach potential customers along their search journeys. Google will continue with their commitment to Ads transparency by making sure the ads are distinguishable from organic search results.
A Responsible Approach
Generative AI and LLMs have known limitations and will not always get the answers right. Google acknowledges this and they are taking a responsible and deliberate approach to bringing new generative AI capabilities to search. Their models are trained to uphold Search’s high bar for quality and they will make improvements over time.
Additional guardrails have also been added – like limiting the types of queries where the AI powered snapshot capabilities will appear.
Users can also evaluate the information themselves by expanding their view to see how the responses were corroborated, and click to go deeper.
Google has introduced Search Labs, a way for users to sign up and test products and ideas that they are exploring. Those who sign up can try out some early-stage experiments and share their feedback directly with the teams working on them.
One of the first experiments in the Search Labs is the Search Generative Experience or SGE. SGE brings the power of generative AI directly into Google Search, helping users quickly find and make sense of information. This experiment allows testers to provide feedback on the new generative search experience, so the team can incorporate those feedback and improve the search experience over time.
Be one of the first to try Google’s Search Generative Experience and get to compare it with the Bing experience by visiting labs.google.com/search.
Read more on the Search Generative Experience in this documentation.