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Google announces the rollout of its AI-powered ‘Overviews’ inside Search at I/O 2024



Google SGE

After a year-long incubation period in “Labs,” Google has officially unveiled its highly-anticipated AI-powered but widely criticized “Overviews” feature in Search for all users, also known as SGE to many in the blogging community.

Last year, Google’s announcement of the Search Generative Experience (SGE) at I/O 2023 started it all. The SGE initiative aimed to integrate generative AI with search results, offering users AI summaries and direct answers to their queries based on real-time information sourced from Search. Following a year of experimentation and feedback, Google deemed it fitting to introduce the feature to the wider public.

Effective immediately, Google is implementing SGE’s “AI Overviews” as the default experience in Search. Powered by Gemini, this cutting-edge functionality will augment traditional search results with AI-generated summaries, presented as a handful of links per query. While not omnipresent, AI Overviews will surface based on the relevance of generative AI to the user’s search context, typically appearing upon expanding the full AI-generated response.

The rollout commences with users in the United States, with plans for global expansion in the near future. Google anticipates that AI Overviews will reach over a billion users worldwide by the end of 2024, heralding a new era in information accessibility.

Google emphasizes that AI Overviews are now a permanent fixture in Search, akin to Knowledge Panels or Featured Snippets, albeit unmodifiable. However, to accommodate user preferences, Google will introduce a “web” filter in Search, enabling users to bypass AI-generated answers and access traditional search results and other features.

Concerns have arisen regarding the potential impact of Google’s AI overhaul on websites reliant on search traffic. With estimates suggesting a potential 25% reduction in traffic over the next few years, apprehensions loom over the fate of online platforms. Google seeks to allay these fears by asserting that AI Overviews garner more clicks than conventional search results and reaffirms its commitment to directing traffic to publishers and creators amidst the expansion of AI Overviews.

In addition to the widespread rollout, Google has unveiled a slew of new features slated for testing with Labs participants in Search. These enhancements encompass refining AI Overviews with simplified language, multi-step reasoning for complex queries, planning capabilities, AI-driven organization of search results, and integrating video content into search prompts.

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