The Google I/O 2023 conference recently concluded with a slew of product and software-related announcements from the tech giant. One of the most notable introductions was the launch of Labs, a dedicated platform for upcoming AI features before they’re integrated into services like Search or Workspace. Within Labs, there is a subdivision called Search Labs that allows users to test under-development AI features coming to the world’s most frequently used search engine.
Initially, there was confusion about who would have access to the new Search Labs experiences, but Google’s generative AI is now available to testers in the US. The company showcased three examples of using its new Search Generative Experience, including getting insights on complex topics, providing direct replies to specific queries, and tying e-commerce with generative AI.
However, while the examples provided by Google seem to work well, the rest of the experience is still a bit rough around the edges. Some queries automatically respond with AI, while others only offer a Generate button to trigger the Bard-like response. Additionally, the Converse button, which takes users into a chat-like interface to ask follow-up questions, suffers from the same limitations as the rest of the early AI.
To sign up for the Search Labs waitlist, users can visit labs.google.com/search. The program is currently a first-come, first-serve system, with priority access for Google One Premium subscribers and Pixel Superfans. Once accepted, the new generative AI features on Search can be accessed by opening the GoogleSearch app on Android or the web and tapping the Labs icon or visiting the Search Labs URL mentioned above.
While the generative AI features are currently exclusive to the US, Google intends to gradually make them available to more people worldwide. The company’s AI chatbot, Google Bard, is already available across 180 countries in three languages, with more on the way.
The Search Generative Experience is a new AI-powered overhaul of the traditional Google Search experience, providing users with smarter, more contextual, and more dynamic results. The feature includes AI-powered snapshots that showcase quick, contextual results for user queries or prompts. Additionally, the SGE facilitates conversations, allowing users to ask follow-up questions and get more information as the conversation evolves.
Since the program is still in its early stages, there are a few criteria that users must meet before turning on the feature in Search. Users must have signed up for Labs and be a Google One Premium (2+ TB) subscriber. However, these limitations are temporary and may change in the future.
To turn on the SGE feature in Search, users must look for the Labs icon on their mobile or web version of Google Search and click or tap it. Then, they must look for the SGE card and toggle it to “on” before agreeing to the terms and conditions.
The SGE feature is currently available for Google Chrome desktop users and the Google app for iOS and Android users. Once users receive their welcome email or notification from Google, they can access SGE by opening their Google app or visiting Google Search on their desktop browser and following the steps mentioned above.
Overall, the Search Generative Experience is an exciting new development from Google that promises to make searching more intuitive and personalized for users. While it’s still in its early stages, the feature has the potential to revolutionize the way we search, learn, and discover information online.