Google has been at the forefront of improving the generative AI capabilities within various aspects of its services. Over two decades ago, its systems could only connect matching words, which meant you were out of luck if there was a typo.
Now, with more advanced machine learning and powerful large language models (LLMs), people can benefit from faster, relevant answers to their queries, regardless of mistakes or typos. This one development from Google empowered people to ask more complex and conversational queries and acquire more helpful search results through Google’s hundreds of algorithms to best understand human language.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
As technology continues to shift, Google Search systems have been able to change how people interact with information and how their own systems organize and utilize the data it collects. One of the latest developments coming from Google is the Search Generative Experience (SGE).
What is SGE, and how does it work?
The Search Generative Experience will bring users a more organized look so they can get more out of only one search. The new layout won’t look like ChatGPT’s style but will summarize search results for users to quickly get the gist of a topic.
SGE is an experimental feature that aims to enhance the search experience by leveraging the power of generative AI in three ways:
- AI Snapshot: Generates a unique summary for some longer queries, giving users a quick understanding of the topic they’re searching for to save time and effort.
- Conversational Mode: Answers follow-up questions while retaining the context of the original snapshot. Users can naturally ask Google questions and gain a deeper understanding of a specific topic with additional resources to explore.
- Vertical Experiences: Provides a preferred list of features and more relevant product details in commercial searches
While these features are meant to help users find better answers more efficiently, they are also designed to encourage information exploration through Search. We’ll go over each SGE factor in depth next.
The ultimate goal of Google Search is to make information more accessible and useful. With breakthroughs in AI technology, SGE will reshape search engines’ generative AI capabilities to do more and take the work out of searching for a topic. By incorporating generative AI, SGE aims to offer users a more intuitive and efficient way of accessing relevant information.
If you have a multi-faceted question—i.e., “What is the best car brand for families with three children ages 4-12 and two golden retrievers?”—a traditional Google search will answer only bits and pieces of your actual question.
SGE uses AI to generate a unique response to your multi-angle query by simultaneously drawing information from several sources. Called a snapshot, this brief summary holds vital information and products to consider during your browsing journey, depending on your initial inquiry. However, this isn’t meant to be just a one-and-done process.
To keep the momentum going, the AI snapshot has three additional resource links with thumbnails to draw the user’s attention. More resources allow people to dig deeper, discover a diverse range of content from publishers, creators, retailers, businesses, and more, and use the information they find to advance their tasks. Additional resources also encourage trust as there is transparency in where information comes from.
If you’re satisfied with the answers to your original question, you may naturally want to ask a follow-up on the subject. By doing so, will prompt the conversational mode, where you can continue asking Google about the topic from your first search.
For example, say your question “What is the best car brand for families with three children ages 4-12 and two golden retrievers?” was adequately answered. But now you want to know which car is the best that doesn’t come in red or start with the letter “B.” The results in a standard Google search wouldn’t reflect vehicles for the specific family type mentioned in the previous search.
In conversational mode, context is carried over from question to question, so you can naturally continue your exploration. This is especially useful for follow-up questions that become more complex or evolving information journeys. You’ll also find helpful jumping-off points to web content and a range of perspectives that you can investigate deeper.
Vertical searches like shopping and finding local businesses often have multiple angles to explore. When it comes to product searches, SGE helps uncover insights so users can make complex purchase decisions faster and easier.
If you’re looking for a specific product that meets certain requirements, SGE will generate a snapshot of noteworthy factors and a range of options. The product descriptions include relevant, up-to-date reviews, ratings, prices, and product images. SGE can understand your parameters and provide relevant product options with up-to-date information because it is built on Google’s Shopping Graph, the world’s most comprehensive dataset of constantly-changing products, sellers, brands, reviews, and inventory.
Similarly, if your search concerns a certain location, SGE can provide information and AI-powered insights about local places and their exploration options.
How SGE Benefits Marketers and Advertisers
Google said, “We also believe that ads are a vital piece of how the web works and help people find relevant products and services.”
In this new experience, advertisers will still have the opportunity to reach potential customers along their search journeys. Google Search ads will continue to play an important role and serve as additional resources to help people discover millions of businesses online. With SGE, the opportunities to still impact consumers and experience growth are abundant, even for large enterprises and small startups.
When ads do appear, they will continue to feature ad labels with the “Sponsored” label in bold black text. Search ads will also continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page, becoming distinguishable from organic search results.
Google is putting AI where it will be the most valuable: within its existing search results. The Search Generative Experience aims to complement and enhance traditional search results, not replace existing ones.
While SGE provides concise overviews and pointers, traditional search results offer a more comprehensive array of sources and perspectives. By combining both approaches, users can benefit from comprehensive and diverse information.