Google 'supercharging' search with generative AI

Google has been hinting at big changes to its search engine since April to rival Microsoft-backed ChatGPT. At an investor meeting May 10, the company unveiled the Search Generative Experience.

Google's search engine now has conversational features, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Search Generative Experience integrates artificial intelligence to provide responses for a range of queries, welcomes follow-up questions and includes a new interface.

Google's signature list of relevant websites and article links to queries may soon be obsolete, in favor of mixed media posts and videos. Google aims to make query responses "visual, snackable, personal, and human," according to the Journal.

"The future of search is about blending the best of search and the best of generative AI. It's not either-or," Liz Reid, vice president on the Google search team, said in a blog post titled: "Supercharging Search with generative AI."

A demo to the Journal revealed a conversational search engine that included a block text response with up to three links back to other sources alongside the passage. Microsoft's Bing has a similar conversational search function, but shows the citations after each sentence.

In a May 10 blog post, Vidhya Srinivasan, vice president and general manager of Google Ads, said ads will still be relevant within the new search engine.

"With SGE, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. In this new experience, advertisers will still have the opportunity to reach potential customers along their search journeys. We'll test and evolve the ads experience as we learn more," she wrote.

She also noted advertisers using Performance Max, an AI-powered campaign, leads to around 18 percent more conversions at a similar cost per action.

Google opened a wait list for the new search function, and made its AI chatbot Bard freely available for English speakers.

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