Google has launched Search Generative Experience, or SGE, an experimental version of Search that integrates artificial intelligence answers directly into results, the company said in a blog post on Thursday.
Unlike a normal Google Search, which brings up a list of blue links, SGE uses AI to answer your questions right on the Google Search webpage. After entering a query in Google Search, a green or blue box will expand with a novel answer generated by Google's large language model, like the one powering OpenAI's ChatGPT.
Google pulls this information from websites and links to sources used when generating an answer. It's also possible to ask follow-up questions in SGE to get more precise results.
At the moment, SGE isn't open to the public and requires you to sign up to Google's Search Labs. To join, click the link here. Search Labs is currently available only to a limited number people in the US and in English only, though you can join the waitlist. SGE can be accessed via the Chrome desktop web browser or the Android and iOS Google apps.
Google didn't respond to a request for comment.
With the launch of ChatGPT late last year, an AI chatbot that could answer almost any question with a unique answer, companies have been adding generative AI features to their products amid increased public interest. Google unveiled Bard earlier this year, an AI chatbot similar to ChatGPT. Microsoft followed up by adding ChatGPT into Bing directly, including an AI image generator powered by Dall-E, also by OpenAI. AI chatbots are powered by a large language model, or LLM, a technology that uses a massive set of text data to write sentences that mimic human language. The model essentially aims to figure out what the next best word should be when generating sentences, a process that's been described as "autocomplete on steroids."
AI was also a core focus earlier this month at Google I/O, the search giant's annual developers conference, with the term being said more than 140 times during the two-hour presentation. During I/O, Cathy Edwards, vice president of engineering at Google, said that with a standard Google Search, people have to break up complex queries into multiple questions, sift through websites for information and formulate the answer in their heads. With SGE, the AI can do all of that for you.
How to join the Google Search Labs waitlist
Here's how to join the waitlist for Search Labs so you can be among the first to test Google's SGE:
- Open the Chrome browser on a computer or the Google App on mobile.
- Sign in to you Google account.
- Open a new tab in your browser.
- At the top right, there will be a Labs icon (of a beaker) if Labs is available to you.
- If the Labs icon is there, click it and then click Join Waitlist.
You'll get an email when Labs becomes available.
SGE is part of Search Labs and includes experimental features such as Code Tips, which gives coding suggestions directly in Search, and Add to Sheets, a feature that can automatically bring in information found in Search into Google Sheets.
If you're able to get into SGE now, Google requires you to agree to its privacy notice and asks you not to include sensitive or confidential personal information that "can be used to identify you or others in your interactions with SGE features." This is because during this trial run, some data will be analyzed by human reviewers, although the data will be "stored in a manner that is not associated with your Google account." It's possible to delete interactions via the My Activity page.
Google also warns of the follies of generative AI and that accuracy may vary. This is likely referring to "hallucinations," a problem found with generative AI where it can confidently say something is accurate when it isn't. Google suggests you not rely on generative AI for medical, legal, financial or other professional services.
Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to create some personal finance explainers that are edited and fact-checked by our editors. For more, see this post.