Google's Plan To Bring Generative AI To Search And How It Differs From Bard

hero google search io 2023
The Google IO 2023 event was filled with a plethora of AI announcements. The company left no doubt that AI is its central focus moving forward. One of those announcements included how Google is continuing to develop its search engine, with generative AI reimagining what it can do.

Google's new era of Search will implement generative AI capabilities to unlock new types of questions never imagined possible before. This new way of searching is said to "take the work out of searching," making the process faster while giving new viewpoints and insights along the way. It all begins with Search Labs, which anyone can sign up to access and test out.

Google Search is not the same as Google Bard, however. Bard is a chatbot that can be used to hold conversations, much like a human, and its intended use is for collaboration. Google Search with generative AI, on the other hand, is solely focused on providing users answers concerning questions such as "Where is the closest McDonald's?" or "What is generative AI and how do I use it?"

One example given of how this new search engine can be used is by asking, "what's better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, bryce canyon or arches?" Typically, a user might use shorter questions and piece together things as they go along. However, with generative AI, Google Search is able to process the more complex question and make searching faster, providing links to investigate further (see image below).

google search generative ai example

As a user taps on the AI's follow-up questions, it takes them to a new conversational mode, where Google can ask more questions about the topic. Context is also carried over from one question to another, giving it a more natural feel as one explores.

Generative AI in Search can also aid in online shopping. As someone searches for a particular product, Search will also provide "a snapshot of noteworthy factors to consider and products that fit the bill." Relative product descriptions, up-to-date reviews, ratings, prices, and product images are also provided. All of this information is pulled from the more than 35 billion product listings housed in Google's Shopping Graph.

Google took a good bit of time during its IO 2023 event yesterday to emphasize it is taking its development of AI technology with a responsible and deliberate approach. The tech giant pointed out that there are known limitations to generative AI and large language models (LLMs) and recognizes it will not always get it right.

Anyone who would like to sign-up for access to Search Lab's Search Generative Experience (SGE) can do so on Google's website. It is available on Chrome desktops and the Google App on both Android and iOS in the US (English-only at launch).