May 18, 2023

Google Goes AI: Details on the Search Generative Experience

Person in suit jacket holding up a magnifying glass to their face

Google’s new generative AI search integration, Search Generative Experience (SGE) is going to evolve the old familiar search results page. Codenamed Magi, right now it’s only experimental, and is only available for some searches, and only for users who opt into Search Labs.

But what’s it look like, and where’s it going? Well, we’ve gathered some key points that healthcare search marketers should know, from this excellent article from The Verge and other sources!

  • Blue links will be pushed down further, but links will remain present above the fold on the right of the generated response, as well as in what Google calls “the bear claw,” a hamburger-style icon that will expand reference links under the response.
  • Google is being extra careful around using AI with more serious topics, like health, finance and civic information, (known as “your money or your life” or YMYL), and illegal or extra-sensitive searches. While the Verge feature says these topics won’t currently generate AI answers, Google’s SGE Overview suggests they will, in moderation, and with helpful disclaimers. YMYL queries are too big for Google to ignore, but it’s clear they’re set on getting them right.
  • Advertising in a SGE experience has not yet been figured out, beyond integrating Google shopping.
  • Not all searches will spark an AI-generated answer. For instance, simple, fact-based searches (e.g., how tall is the Empire State Building?) don’t really benefit from AI. SGE is more for what they call NORA questions: ones that have No One Right Answer. For instance: What questions should I ask contractors when getting bids to redo my kitchen? What’s a good family-friendly hotel in Branson that has an indoor pool and free wifi and costs less than $200 a night?
  • Interestingly, Google wants its AI experience to NOT appear as human as other chatbots. It wants to stick a little more to the facts. Here’s an excerpt from the Verge article, in which editor-at-large David Pierce opines on the Google position: “You can build a system that is factual, which is to say it offers you lots of good and grounded information. Or you can build a system that is fluid, feeling totally seamless and human. Maybe someday you’ll be able to have both. But right now, the two are at odds, and Google is trying hard to lean in the direction of factual. The way the company sees it, it’s better to be right than interesting.”

SEO pundits have had a variety of initial reactions to SGE:

As always, we’re keeping abreast of the latest changes and will keep our clients – and readers – informed!