The more we learn about the power of generative AI, it becomes evident that this development is having an impact on many aspects of the digital world. Not only is machine learning automating basic tasks, but it is creating a new experience every time you get online. If you are depending on digital marketing as a way to connect with potential customers, then it’s essential to understand how Search Generative Experience (SGE) is impacting the industry.
What is Search Generative Experience (SGE)?
Google is using a Search Generative Experience (SGE, also sometimes known as Search Generative Experiment) to test a new approach for delivering online search results. Previously, users would search in Google and find existing websites and published content relating to the topic. Now, AI-powered search leverages machine learning and information retrieval to deliver clear and quick overviews of the search topics.
The main difference is that the applicable information shows up in the search engine directly. So, there is no need for users to click on a website to view more information.
There are many ways that Search Generative Experience is being used to deliver search results:
- Providing topic overviews
- Sharing answers to questions
- Summarizing key points
- Giving how-to instructions
For example, if you search for information about health symptoms associated with a specific disease, previously Google would provide a list of sites with information on this topic. Now, Google AI can offer SGE results and give you a list of information at the top of the results. You can view the information without clicking through to any websites. This information is compiled from other sources online.
This system is using information retrieval to provide each user with relevant answers faster. There’s no need for searchers to click through on the top few search results when all of the relevant information is already showing in the results display.
How Google’s SGE works
Once you understand the ways that generative AI works, it’s easier to see how Google’s SGE works. AI has been trained to look at models and algorithms for content creation. It pulls data from many other resources using large language models (LLMs). This process can consume large amounts of data. At the same time, other tools are built into the system for processing natural language, deep learning, and machine learning.
The goal is to teach the search engines to have a clearer understanding of the search queries. In moments, the system processes content that is relevant to the topic and designs a response accordingly.
Benefits of Search Generative Experience (SGE)
There are obvious benefits of using generative AI in the search results. For example, searchers can receive an easy-to-understand overview of complex topics. This summary makes it simple to digest relevant information, helping people digest the topic without feeling overwhelmed by too many details or the need to visit multiple websites.
Another benefit is that users receive an interactive experience because the results are customized to every person. Not only does a searcher receive answers to the questions they are searching, but there are also recommendations for follow-up searches that will help the person find the most applicable information.
These AI-generated search results are direct and fast. Many people find it easier to collect the information in the search engines directly, instead of spending time navigating through different websites that are linked in the list of search results.
Potential Limitations of Generative AI Search
Even though the benefits are clear, there are still potential drawbacks to Google’s generative AI search results. One clear limitation is that this feature is only available in seven languages and it is limited to 120 countries. But it’s expected that the tool will continue to expand and be available in more locations in the future.
Additionally, there is always a risk of inaccuracy when using generative AI. These tools are in the early stages of development and there are times when incorrect information is delivered. You will see a disclaimer at the top of the search results that says: “Generative AI is experimental. Info quality may vary.” If you are looking for important information, then it’s smart to double-check the details to ensure that everything is accurate.
One other potential drawback is that there could be less visibility for websites to receive organic and paid search traffic. Since search advertising is a primary revenue source for Google, it will be interesting to see how generative AI is used without detracting from the paid ads.
How to Use SGE in Search Labs
If you are searching in Google, you have the option to turn on SGE. Make sure you are using Chrome as your browser and you have a Google account. Since SGE is still in the experimental phases (at the time of this writing), you have to opt in to see AI-generated results.
To turn on SGE, sign into your Google account in Chrome. Go to Google and look for the “labs” icon – located on the right and at the top of the page. If you don’t see this icon, then it likely means that you are in a country where it’s not yet available. Right now, SGE is available in 120 countries.
Look for “SGE, generative AI in Search” and click the toggle to turn it on. Now, you can start searching and Google will use generative AI to help with the results you are seeing. Each time you search for something, pay attention to the information generated at the top of the page and you will see examples of SGE in action.
Staying Relevant with the Changing Trends Online
This Search Generative Experience (SGE) brings the future of search into question. There is no doubt that AI is having a ripple effect in the SEO industry. People are also asking about the ethical implications of AI-powered search since the information generated is coming from other previously-published sources.
So, it’s necessary to understand how generative search is working so that our strategies can adapt as needed. There’s no doubt that things are changing with the future of AI in search engines. We are working hard to understand the impact of SGE on search behavior and adjusting our strategies to ensure that our digital marketing methods are continuing to help each client connect with their target customers.