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Google Search Generative Experience – It’s All New AI Search Engine

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Google Search Generative Ai Experience Robot

Google announced a preview, a labs experiment, of its all-new search engine, it is calling Google Search Generative Experience. This is where Google brings in generative AI into the search interface and makes a search interface designed more for a youthful audience.

I covered this in super detail on Search Engine Land so here I will give a briefer overview of the changes, after having a night to sleep on it, and consuming feedback from the search marketing community.

In short, I was pleasantly surprised by the interface, as I expected the UI to be less generous to content creators, publishers, site owners, and SEOs. But I believe this interface does make efforts to generate clicks from the new search results interface to websites.

Here is a quick first impressions video I recorded for this blog post:

Quick Jump Links To Sections:

How It Looks & Feels

Here is a screenshot from Google that I mocked up to explain the all-new search interface from Google – you can click on the image to enlarge:

click for full size

Google will generate an answer for some, not all questions, and show this animation of Google working up an answer. Google will show some of the more trusted and high-quality web sites as clickable links, with an image, title and URL, right in the answer box. These sites make up part of the answer and are sites Google has a high degree of trust, enough to show them in this answer box.

You can use the toggle expander button to dive deeper into the answers and/or ask follow-up questions below. Or scroll past it to see the more traditional search result listings.

Here is a GIF of it in action – do notice the products from the Shopping Graph (click to enlarge):

Google Search Generative Experience 640

I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised with how Google is showing links to publishers. I don’t think most were thinking Google would be highlighting these publishers and content creators as much as they are here, after seeing the laughable way Google Bard handled citations, or lack thereof.

One note, Google said the colors of the answer box or container plays a role. The color can dynamically change based on the searcher’s specific journey types and the query intent itself, Google told me.

How It Works

Yea, this uses a bunch of AI, LLMs, and machine learning, including many exciting search algorithms to function. This new experience is powered by a variety of large language models, including an advanced version of MUM and PaLM2. This model is different from what Bard uses, it was trained to carry out tasks specific to search, including ways to identify high-quality sites that corroborate the information presented in the output, Google told us.

Yes, it uses Google Search’s core ranking systems for this purpose. Google said this helps them “significantly mitigate: some of the known limitations of LLMs, like hallucination or inaccuracies.

On top of that, Google also deploys its Search Quality Raters to evaluate these results and takes that feedback to improve the models going forward. Google also conducts adversarial testing of these systems to identify areas where the systems aren’t performing as intended, the company told me.

YMYL comes into play to, and if Google does show a response here, Google will add a disclaimer to YMYL categories of responses. Google told us “on health-related queries where we do show a response, the disclaimer emphasizes that people should not rely on the information for medical advice, and they should work with medical professionals for individualized care.”

And Google might not give generative answers when there is a lack of quality or reliable information, such as with “data voids” or “information gaps.” And Google won’t respond to explicit or dangerous topics.

Google applies the same policies it uses for featured snippets and autocomplete, as well as its other Search content policies.

Google rather not respond in a fluid tone because searchers are more likely to trust fluidity, Google told us. “We have found that giving the models leeway to create fluid, human-sounding responses results in a higher likelihood of inaccuracies (see limitations below) in the output. At the same time, when responses are fluid and conversational in nature, we have found that human evaluators are more likely to trust the responses and less likely to catch errors,” Google told us.

On Google Search Console and tracking clicks from the new search experience. Liz Reid from Google told me it is just a labs experiment now and Search Console integration is not planned right now. John Mueller of Google kind of said the same thing on Twitter:

Although I do doubt Google will add such a feature because they refused to do so with featured snippets.

But it will have a normal search referral:

Search Ads

Finally, Google will show Google Ads in this new experience, just like it does in the normal Google Search. It will label those ads as “sponsored” with the black sponsored label. Your ads that you run in Google Search will potentially show here too. Right now there is no way to differentiate and say, do not show my ads in the new experience or not. But this is a super early beta, and Bing Chat does the same thing.

“We’ll test and evolve the ads experience as we learn more,” Google told us.

Here is what it looks like:

click for full size

Ginny Marvin, the Google Ads Liaison, confirmed this with this tweet:

How To Sign Up

Google has opened its waitlist for the Search Generative Experience in Search Labs at labs.google.com/search. You can sign up to join the waitlist today. Click on the Labs icon in the Google app or Chrome desktop to express your interest, Google said.

Google won’t start inviting people to try it for a couple of weeks and those invites will go out in waves.

It will be available first on Chrome desktop and the Google App (Android and iOS) in the U.S. and English-only.

I believe some of the early reaction, without reading the details, were pretty negative but overall, I think when people see the layouts and links, they are surprised in a good way. I think, SEOs and content creators were expecting a lot worse. And honestly, I personally don’t think this is bad at all.

But here are some early reactions:

Here is a quick poll that should update later today with results, so feel free to take it:

Forum discussion at Twitter and WebmasterWorld.



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Google Hanukkah Decorations Are Live For 2023

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Google Hanukkah 2023

Hanukkah (aka Chanukah) starts this coming Thursday night, December 7th. Google has added its Hanukkah decorations to the Google Search results interface to celebrate. Google does this every year and I expect to see the same rollout in the coming weeks for Christmas and Kawanzaa but for now, since Chanukah is in the coming days, we have the Hanukkah decorations live at Google Search.

Here is a screenshot of the Chanukah decorations as they look like on the mobile search results.

Google Hanukkah Decorations 2023

You can see it yourself by searching on Google for [chanukah], [hanukkah], but not yet [חֲנוּכָּה‎] or other spelling variations yet but it should soon. It looks better on mobile than it does on desktop results.

To see the past, the 2023 decorations, 2021 decorations, 2020 Chanukah decorations, 2019 Google holiday decorations, the 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and so on.

Happy Chanukah, everyone!

Forum discussion at X.

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Google Pay Accepted Icons In Google Search Results

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Woman Checking Out Store Google Logo

Google seems to be testing a Google Pay Accepted label or icon in the Google search results. This label has the super G logo followed by the words “Pay accepted” words next to search result snippets that support Google Pay and notate such in their structured data.

This was first spotted by Khushal Bherwani who shared some screenshots of this on X – here is one:

G Pay Accepted Google Search

Here are some more screenshots:

Brodie Clark also posted some screenshots after on X:

Google Pay Accepted Google Search

I tried to replicate this but I came up short.

This is not the first time Google had similar icons like this in its search results.

Forum discussion at X.



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Google Discover Showing Older Content Since Follow Feature Arrived

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Dog Astronut Google Logo

Typically, Google Discover shows content that is less than a day old, but it can show content that is weeks, months, or even years old. However, typically, Google will show more recent content in the Discover feed. Well, that may have changed with the new Google follow feature.

Glenn Gabe, who is a very active Google Discover user, noticed that since the Follow feature rolled out, he has been seeing content that is weeks and months old way more often than before the follow feature rolled out. Glenn wrote on X that “this could also be playing a role. i.e. Google isn’t providing as much recent content, but instead, focusing on providing targeted content based on the topics you are following.”

It makes sense that if you follow a specific topic and if Google Discover only shows the most authoritative types of content, it might be hard for Google to find new content on that topic. So it does make sense that Google may show older content more often for that specific topic you follow.

Here are screenshots Glenn shared:

Google Discover Old Stories Follow

Google Discover Old Stories Follow2

Have you noticed this in your Discover feed?

Forum discussion at X.



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