Google begins public testing of its generative AI search



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Google is testing AI-generated summaries in main search results in the US for a small subset of more complex queries – even for users who have not signed up for its “Search Generative Experience.”

According to a report by Search Engine Land, Google is currently testing AI-generated answers in top search results, even for users who have not explicitly signed up for the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) in Google Search Labs.

A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land that this is a test for a “subset of queries, on a small percentage” of U.S. search traffic.

The AI summaries will be displayed for more complex searches where information from multiple sites may be helpful – for example, “How do I get marks off painted walls?” Google believes that these queries add value for users.

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Google says it is testing different versions of the new search. What searchers see in the trials will not necessarily be rolled out to all users in the test.

By testing without SGE registration, Google wants to get feedback from searchers who have not specifically enabled SGE. This allows the company to learn how a broader audience finds the technology useful.

Google will continue to serve ads in and around these new AI experiences. There is no word yet on when the company will fully roll out generative AI search.

If there is a future of LLM search, Google wants to be at the forefront

So far, OpenAI and Microsoft have not been able to take market share from Google, nor have LLM search startups like Perplexity.ai. However, OpenAI is already threatening with a new ad-free AI search offering that could overcome common weaknesses of current systems, such as bias and hallucination.

In response to the new AI competition, Google introduced the Search Generative Experience (SGE) in the middle of last year. It offers direct AI answers and interactive options such as follow-up questions and chatbot-like dialogues. SGE’s features also include AI-generated images, draft text, and summaries of web pages.

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