The race to transform search using generative AI is kicking into high gear. While Google’s implementation of the technology is not surprising — and has basically been a given since February — more formal tests demonstrate that the tech giant is moving quickly to address the competitive threat posed by rivals that were early to jump on the trend. Google’s announcement comes a week after Microsoft shifted AI-powered Bing from limited to open preview, welcoming more consumers into the fold.
Google’s early experiments with generative AI in search, dubbed the Search Generative Experience (SGE), are part of a new Search Labs program. Those interested in trying out the features and providing feedback can join a waitlist, with access opening in the coming weeks. The initial run will be in the U.S. and in English only.
SGE is just one of several bits of AI-related news that dropped at this year’s I/O but carries some of the biggest implications for Google’s core business. Search is the company’s largest ad revenue segment and has made it into a dominant force in digital marketing over the past two decades-plus. It is also an area that has seen growth cool with stiffer competition and weak advertiser demand in a down economy. Google search revenue grew just 2% in the first quarter of 2023, while the firm’s overall revenue from ads was down year-over-year for the second consecutive quarter. Overall revenues for search advertising were up 7.8% in 2022, according to the IAB.MarketingDive