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Search Generative Experience: A New Way To Search On Google

Search Generative Experience
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Google’s advancements in generative AI have been transforming its Search functionality over decades. As Google continues to explore generative AI’s capabilities through its recently launched Search Labs program and experiments like Search Generative Experience (SGE) at Google I/O 2023, the future of the Search results page looks set to revolutionise further. 

Google has now released a 19 page white paper about its new Search Generative Experience; a new way to search with generative AI. So what does it say, and what this mean for you?

What is the Search Generative Experience (SGE) on Google?

The Search Generative Experience (SGE) is kicking off a new era of searching on Google. You’ll still see your regular search results with SGE, but they’ll be arranged in a fresh way to help you get more out of each search. Rooted in the foundations of Search, you’ll still get all the things you love, and more.

Search Generative Experience - Example
Credit: Google 2023

With so much written and spoken about this topic in recent days, we aren’t going to add to the hubbub. Here is all the most important information you need, as well as the YouTube video which should take you straight to its launch at Google I/O 2023 below. 

Watch the launch of the new Search Generative Experience at Google I/O's keynote

Key takeaways from the Search Generative Experience white paper

How do you get access to SGE?

  • Search Generative Experience (SGE) is experimental.
  • It’s only available in the US for now in the new Search Labs on Chrome Desktop and the Google App on Android. 

What will SGE look like?

  • Google will present AI-powered snapshots for relevant queries, providing a comprehensive overview of the answer.
  • Google plans to enhance the credibility of these snapshots by providing links to resources that validate the information presented.
  • ‘Ask for follow up’ will launch the conversational mode.
  • The SGE user experience is thoughtfully designed, with color playing a key role. The color scheme will vary depending on user journeys and query intent.

Google has a responsibility to manage this carefully.

  • Google acknowledges the existing limitations of large language models (LLMs), such as potential misrepresentation of facts, bias, opinionated responses, and contradiction of information in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
  • The training of SGE incorporates several methods, including Quality Raters, specific query analysis, and Red-teaming to detect any bias or safety issues in the results.
  • In cases where quality or reliable information is lacking, SGE may not appear. This will apply when the system’s confidence in the quality of the result is low.
  • Responsibility is key to limiting hallucinations & to improve the quality of responses. 
  • To start, there will be constraints on ‘creative’ use cases for safety & quality purposes.
  • SGE has constrained conversationality, meaning it doesn’t really have a persona.

What does this mean for Ads?

  • Search Ads will continue to play a critical role.
  • Search Ads will continue to be labelled as ‘Sponsored’.
  • Google will continue to test & evolve the ad experience.

What does this mean for you?

Google is going to continue experimenting how to monetise this new experience. Search (Broad Match + Responsive Search Ads) + Performance Max is what is going to get your ads in these spaces.

Think about it, Google needs to experiment, and experiment quickly. The quickest way it can do this is if it utilises the ad formats and campaign types that give it the most control. Using Performance Max, Google is able to dynamically put your assets across its network. If it can do this, it can have greater control over where it can place your ads in the SGE. Similarly, as queries get more complex, the only way you are going to be able to target these queries in SGE is through a combination of Broad Match + Responsive Search Ads in your Search campaigns. 

Make sure this best practice is applied in your accounts. Otherwise, you risk not being able to take advantage of this exciting time. 

Dan Roberts
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