May 25, 2024

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Google Search starts offering an overview of AI to everyone

Google Search starts offering an overview of AI to everyone

After a year of “test features,” Google is officially turning on the AI-powered “overviews” switch in search for all users, and the web will never be the same again.

Google first announced its generative search experience, SGE, at I/O 2023. The new experience combined generative AI with search results to provide AI summaries and answers to a user’s query based on direct information from search. Over the past year, many have tried this experiment, and Google feels that the time has come to launch it to the public.

Starting today, Google will make SGE AI Overviews the default search experience.

Powered by Gemini, this new search experience will see many more queries (Google says they will appear when systems determine that generative AI might be useful) as the search engine reverts to traditional results being pushed to the bottom of the page. AI Overviews tends to show a few links for each query, though they don’t always appear, and usually only appear once you click to expand the full response generated by the AI.

Google indicates that the rollout process begins with all users in the United States today, with other countries to follow “soon.”

The company expects the AI ​​Overviews feature to be available to “more than a billion” users by the end of 2024.

The company adds that AI Overviews is now a feature in search, compared to a knowledge panel or featured snippet. It’s not something you can completely stop. Instead, Google will add a “web” filter to the search to skip AI answers, as well as other search features, and show only links.

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However, one concern surrounding the shift of AI to Google Search is how it will impact websites that get a lot of traffic through search. that it It was appreciated Up to 25% of traffic could be lost over the next two years due to this change, with many websites already being damaged – many even dying – at the hands of search over the past few months in particular.

Google says that it appears to be getting fewer links that appear in AI Overviews more Clicks compared to those in traditional search. The company also adds that it will “continue to focus” on sending traffic to publishers and creators as it expands AI Overviews to more users.

In addition to the broader rollout, Google also announced some new features it will be testing with Research Labs participants. This includes the ability to fine-tune the AI ​​overview through improvements such as simplifying the language used, multi-step reasoning for complex queries, mapping capabilities, AI organization of search results, and use of video as part of a search prompt.

Google teases that all of this is “just a glimpse of how Google Search is being reimagined,” with more to come.

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