Google has released a new YouTube short film inviting more people to try Search Generative Experience through Search Labs.
Google SearchLiaison also announced on Twitter that Google has made several improvements to SGE over the past two weeks.
Two weeks ago we started opening access to SGE. Since then, we’ve made a number of quality updates, including a major improvement that cuts the time it takes to create AI snapshots in half! We hope everyone who tries it enjoys the faster experience. If you haven’t already…
– Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) June 8, 2023
Here’s what I found while testing the new and improved Google SGE.
The sources were not always complete
Has Google cited sources in overviews of generative AI? Yes, but it wasn’t always the full list of sources.
One of the first questions I asked SGE almost two weeks ago was What is Google Bard. I asked it again and the answer was traced back to articles from four sources.
When I ran the text through Originality.ai, some of the text matched an article from PC Guide that was not included in Google’s source list.
Something similar happened when I checked the AI overview What is ChatGPT?.
Originality discovered sources not included in generative AI text.
There were also conflicting sources in the answer to What is link building? between what Google AI quoted…
…and what Originality discovered.
This issue could be of concern to unnamed authors and publishers of Generative AI answers.
Sponsored results were displayed above some SGE responses
Instead of always appearing first, some SGE responses appeared under Google Ads sponsored results.
It happened in this search for What are the Best SEO Courses?.
This query for the The best place to buy a laptop Displayed sponsored shopping results before SGE response with local search results.
Other brand websites appeared in sources
When I first accessed Google SGE, most of the responses pointed primarily to publisher sites. Some replies I received included links to official/brand resources.
For example, this search for Google Search Console returned a Google support source.
When I inquired about it biggest announcements from WWDC In 2023, the AI overview included a link to the Apple Vision Pro page.
I bought a robot vacuum cleaner. The sources included links to two retailers and one manufacturer.
Finally, I checked who the CEO of Microsoft was. Two links included in the response were Microsoft News links about Satya Nadella.
More social media popped up in sources
In addition to including relevant brand websites in the SGE responses, I also noticed more social media results.
For example, I asked about the current pricing for the Twitter API v2. One of the response sources was a tweet.
I wanted to find out who the CTO of OpenAI is. The response included Mira Murati’s LinkedIn profile.
I checked if Best Buy offers customer support through social media. Sources included Best Buy’s Twitter and Instagram profiles.
The speed was about the same
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any significant difference in speed compared to the last test by SGE.
Overall, Google SGE responded quickly, even if some strange questions could not be answered.
Google SGE continues to improve
Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) will continue to evolve, expanding the scope and variety of its source materials and indicating a more generative future for search experiences.
The shift from predominately using publisher websites to including branded websites in search results provides users with a wider range of information. It enables more direct access to information and helps consumers make better decisions.
The integration of social media as a source in SGE responses shows that Google has recognized the importance of these platforms in providing real-time, user-generated data for more relevant responses.
The inclusion of sponsored results via SGE responses doesn’t come as a complete surprise considering Google’s continued emphasis on monetizing search results.
Despite these updates, the exact sources and expected speed improvements are not consistent across searches, leaving room for further optimization.
The future of Google SGE is one of continuous transformation aimed at making search experiences richer, more engaging and faster.
However, it remains to be seen how these changes will affect the user experience in the long run and whether the search giant will continue to strike a balance between providing accurate results and maintaining a user-friendly experience.
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