Google begins opening access to generative AI in search


Google’s take on AI-powered search begins rolling out today. The company announced this morning that it’s opening access to Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) and other Search Labs in the US. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to sign up for the waitlist and sit tight until you get an email announcing it’s your turn.

Revealed at Google I/O 2023 earlier this month, Google SGE is the company’s infusion of conversational AI into the classic search experience. If you’ve played with Bing AI, expect a familiar — yet different — product. Cherlynn Low noted in Engadget’s SGE preview that Google’s AI-powered search uses the same input bar you’re used to rather than a separate chatbot field like in Bing. Next, the generative AI results will appear in a shaded section below the search bar (and sponsored results) but above the standard web results. Meanwhile, on the top right of the AI results is a button letting you expand the snapshot, and it adds cards showing the sourced articles. Finally, you can ask follow-up questions by tapping a button below the results.

Google describes the snapshot as “key information to consider, with links to dig deeper.” Think of it like a slice of Bard injected (somewhat) seamlessly into the Google search you already know.

In addition, Google is opening access to other Search Labs, including Code Tips and Add to Sheets (both are US-only for now). Code Tips “harnesses the power of large language models to provide pointers for writing code faster and smarter.” It lets aspiring developers ask how-to questions about programming languages (C, C++, Go, Java, JavaScript, Kotlin, Python and TypeScript), tools (Docker, Git, shells) and algorithms. Meanwhile, as its name suggests, Add to Sheets lets you insert search results directly into Google’s spreadsheet app. Tapping a Sheets icon to the left of a search result will pop up a list of your recent documents; choose one to which you want to attach the result.

If you aren’t yet on the Search Labs waitlist, you can tap the Labs icon (a beaker symbol) on a new tab in Chrome for desktop or in the Google search app on Android or iOS. However, the company hasn’t announced how quickly or broadly it will open access, so you may need to be patient.

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