"The AI takeover of Google Search begins now," writes o David Pierce of The Verge. At Google I/O today, the company introduced a new feature called Search Generative Experience (SGE).
The new feature creates AI “snapshots” that appear at the top of the search results page. They consist of an AI-generated summary of your question, with links to information and shopping sources.
To prove it, Liz Reid, Google's vice president of search, opens her laptop and starts typing in the search box.
"Why is sourdough bread still so popular?" type and hit enter. Normal Google search results load almost instantly. Above them though, a rectangular orange section pulsates and glows displaying the phrase:
"Generative AI is experimental". A few seconds later, the box displays an AI-generated summary: it contains a few paragraphs detailing the good taste of the dough, the positives of its prebiotic abilities and much more. To the right, there are three links to websites with information that Reid says "confirms" what's in the summary.
Google calls it an “AI snapshot”. It comes from Google's big language models.
Reid then moves the mouse to the top right of the box and clicks an icon that Google designers call the "bear claw." Bearclaw opens up a new view: the AI snapshot is now broken down sentence by sentence, with links below to the sources of information for that sentence. This, Reid says, is confirmation.
He says it's the key to how Google's AI implementation is different. “Do we want [the LLM], when it tells us something, to tell us what its sources are so you can read more about it?”
A few seconds later, Reid starts another search. This time, he's looking for the best Bluetooth speakers for the beach. Again, standard search results appear almost immediately, and again, AI results are generated seconds later.
This time, there's a short summary at the top detailing what you should care about in such a speaker: battery life, water resistance, and of course sound quality. There are links to three buying guides on the right and below are shopping links with the best picks. Each shopping link also has an AI-generated summary.
Reid continues with the phrase “under $100,” and the snapshot changes with new summaries and new options.
"This will be the new look of Google's search results page," Pierce concludes. "First we'll see artificial intelligence, powered by Google's most advanced LLMs, including a new general-purpose model called PaLM 2 and the Multitask Unified Model (MUM) that Google uses to understand multiple types of media."
“In the demos I saw, they are extremely impressive. And they're changing the way we're going to experience search, especially on mobile, where that AI snapshot will often appear across the entire first page of your results.”