Google’s Search Generative Experience Guide – Meaning, Benefits, AI Tools Comparison 

13 mins read

AI is being widely adopted in multiple spheres of life. It changes how we look for information online, write, code, design, etc. Thanks to AI’s increasing adoption, we see new technologies constantly debuting. More importantly, AI impacts Google search, making it more interactive and advanced. This guide delves into Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), its meaning, value, challenges, case studies, and future trends. Let’s dive in! 

Search Generative Experience Meaning

SGE is a new notion in the modern web, so it would be logical to start our guide by explaining the meaning of the Search Generative Experience. 

Search Generative Experience is an approach to using search engines that not only retrieves relevant information to your search request but also generates new insights, making the search more interactive and personalized. SGE was first presented at the Google I/O conference on May 10, 2023. The search engine introduced it as a feature that augments search capabilities, providing a unique, interactive search experience. 

Google’s Search Generative Experience uses the Pathways Language Model (PaLM) to enhance search capabilities and deliver more interactive search results. It provides quick summaries based on your queries, saving you time hunting for pages offering answers relevant to your search request. 

It’s an experimental search experience that uses artificial intelligence to help you with a variety of tasks, like: 

  • Finding answers
  • Discovering topic overviews
  • Summarizing key takeaways 
  • Getting how-to instructions 

When doing a Google search previously, you were directed to websites offering information relevant to your search request. With the launch of Google’s Search Generative Experience, you are given a list of suggestions on top of the results taken from multiple sources. 

Before digging deeper into the topic, it’s worth mentioning that Google’s Search Generative Experience is still in its experimental stages. It may have some errors and display research results from unreliable resources, So it’s always better to double-check the websites’ reliability and the content displayed in dynamic search results. 

Components of Search Generative Experience

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) includes several key components: 

  • Generative AI and Language Models. To enhance its search capabilities and provide more dynamic and interactive results, SGE uses generative AI and large language models, like the Pathways Language Model (PaLM) 2. 
  • Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG). RAG involves gathering relevant documents or data points based on a query or prompt, which are then added as a few-shot prompt to refine the response from the language model. This process allows for considering new information to enhance the output.
  • User Interface. SGE’s user interface features AI-generated text responses, a carousel of selected sites providing additional information on the topic, a detailed sources icon, and suggested follow-up questions in carousel format. It also includes a conversational mode that maintains context from question to question.
  • Personalization. SGE surpasses traditional keyword-focused approaches by embracing user intent through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to enhance the search experience based on individual preferences.
  • Shopping Graph. For shopping-related searches, SGE leverages Google’s Shopping Graph, which has over 35 billion product listings. This aids users in gaining comprehensive insights when making purchasing decisions.

SGE Benefits

Google SGE enhances searches by enabling follow-up questions, adding a personalized touch to the search experience. For instance, if you look up an eggless cake recipe and then inquire about its refrigeration duration, SGE recognizes the context of your questions.

In addition to providing answers, Google SGE goes beyond transparency by displaying the consulted websites that support its responses. This gives you an answer and allows insight into the sources influencing it for verification purposes.

Google’s Generative Search EExperience (SGE) offers several key benefits that transform how we engage with online search. Here’s a professional overview of its advantages:

  • SGE provides easily understandable summaries of intricate subjects, allowing users to grasp essential information without feeling overwhelmed by details. For instance, when inquiring about “PFAS chemicals,” Google delivers a concise overview without diving into technical intricacies.
  • Unlike traditional searches, SGE offers an interactive experience by suggesting related questions and logical follow-up queries, enabling users to access highly relevant and in-depth information with minimal effort. For example, when comparing “spinach and kale,” Google suggests insightful follow-up questions such as the top three benefits and which vegetable is best for maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet.
  • SGE streamlines the process of gathering information so that users can swiftly find what they need without navigating multiple websites. When querying, “How is the periodic table organized?” SGE presents textual and image-based answers detailing how elements are arranged within the periodic table.

Potential Drawbacks of Google’s SGE

In today’s fast-paced digital world, the brief delay in receiving a Google SGE search result may seem like an eternity. This can be frustrating, mainly when conventional search result links are readily available below the SGE section.

Along with the undisputable advantages of using Google’s SGE, there are potential drawbacks to running AI searches. Let’s review them.

  • According to Google Support, Search Labs and experiments are available in 7 languages and over 120 countries and territories. It hasn’t been launched in some European countries (as of March 2024).  
  • Google’s AI search is in the early stages of its development. As we’ve previously mentioned, it can provide inaccurate search results. Always double-check the results you get. 
  • Google search advertising is a trusted revenue source for many businesses worldwide. However, since AI search is still being tested, Google treats paid ad display carefully to ensure the SGE doesn’t detract from it. The search engine is experimenting with generative AI ads to ensure they nicely integrate with search results. 
  • Lack of transparency is another drawback of Google’s Search Generative Experience we should point out. Google’s PaLM 2 is a closed model and doesn’t reveal much about its decision-making. The lack of transparency makes it impossible for users to understand how AI search arrives at a particular conclusion.  

According to Google’s disclaimer, the relevancy of AI searches regarding YMYL (Your Money Your Life) topics is exceedingly doubtful. The latter refers to anything that can affect a person’s happiness, health, finances, and safety. 

How to Enable SGE in Chrome

If the service is available for your region, you’ll need the Chrome desktop browser and a valid non-work or school Chrome account to enable SGE in Chrome. Here’s how to make it work:

  • Log into your Google account. Open Chrome on your desktop, click the profile icon in the upper right corner, and select Turn on Sync from the pop-up menu. When prompted, enter your Google account email address and password.
  • To access Google Labs, open a new tab in Chrome and click on the beaker icon.
  • Enable SGE. On the Google Labs page, find the SGE card with an On/Off slider. Click it until it’s in the On position.
  • Try SGE. In a search query like “tell me about…”, you’ll see a Generate button above standard results – click that to generate an AI response.

SGE will generate results where you can ask follow-up questions or explore suggested content.

You’ve empowered your searches with generative AI in Chrome by following these steps!

Google SGE vs. Other AI Tools 

Several AI tools are available on the modern web. This Search Generative Experience Guide will compare Google’s AI search with OpenAPI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing. 

  • When comparing SGE and ChatGPT, it may seem the two AI tools serve a common purpose—answering users’ search queries. However, this would be a wrong assumption. ChatGPT is a conversation AI tool. ChatGPT serves as a virtual assistant, which can handle more complex requests than SGE. Google’s Search Generative Experience, in its turn, is a better choice for answering specific user questions.
  • Now, let’s compare SGE vs Bing. The latter was launched in February 2022. Microsoft Bing AI uses a chatbot to provide customized search responses. When reviewing Bing and ESG, we can notice more similarities between these two than SGE and ChatGPT. 

Search Generative Experience Impact on SEO

Generative AI has the potential to impact SEO in both positive and negative ways. While it may decrease organic traffic, it also can generate leads that are more likely to convert.

First, let’s delve into how generative AI could potentially harm traffic. Users who obtain most of their needed information from AI-powered summaries might be less inclined to click through to websites, including yours. For instance, when a user searches for “What is a CRM in real estate?” and receives a detailed response from SGE (Search-generated content), they may choose not to visit the websites referenced in the output. Although Google still recognizes these sites as sources, ranking highly for “what is” queries could lose its value.

Now let’s discuss how SGE could drive higher-quality leads towards your website. According to Google’s announcement, SGE is a “jumping-off point” for exploring web content, while website traffic might decrease for basic queries initially, most individuals will still need further in-depth research.

The positive aspect here is that when someone eventually visits your website after using generative AI responses elsewhere on search engines like Google or Bing; chances are high that they’ll be well-informed and prepared to engage or convert effectively.

It’s also crucial to remember that Google integrates generative content with traditional search results instead of replacing them entirely—traditional results remain available below any generated responses by artificial intelligence systems such as GPT-3.5.

What Does the Future Behold? 

Google’s Search Generative Experience is here to stay and evolve. The introduction of AI-based searches has shaken things up. Although there are still many considerations about how they work, many users are already shifting to AI tools to find information online. 

The adoption of new search algorithms is something marketers and SEO specialists shouldn’t neglect as well. When optimizing websites for better rankings, ensure your project offers helpful content written in a natural language that meets users’ intent.

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