In the last few months, there was talk going on about how AI-powered chatbots, like ChatGPT, were going to make Google search redundant.
The point was, why would people search for a topic and then scroll through multiple results to find the right answer? Especially when ChatGPT could give them a comprehensive reply without having to scroll through pages of information.
There was a bit of panic about it in the Google headquarters, but then the search giant came out with its own AI chatbot, Bard.
Then, on 10th May, Google announced it is “Supercharging Search with Generative AI” at Google I/O.
What Is Generative AI?
Generative AI is a technology that uses Machine Learning (ML) to produce (or generate) content in the form of text, images, audio, or synthetic data.
So, instead of passively offering searchers a list of pages, Google is offering to search through existing content and answer questions.
Whilst this is still in its nascent stage, people can participate in this experiment that the search giant is calling Search Generative Experience (SGE) in Google’s Search Labs.
But, how is Google using generative AI in search?
Search Made Better
One of the key points people were making when arguing that ChatGPT was better than search engines was that it gave a “well-researched” and “comprehensive” answer.
In contrast, search engines provided searchers with a list of links, from which they would have to find the most relevant one.
Of course, one did have the featured snippet that would instantly answer the question. But, it wasn’t comprehensive enough.
Using generative AI, however, Google would now offer smarter answers after comparing and processing information.
For example, here is the question the Google blog uses: “what’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, bryce canyon or arches?”
The old search would not be able to provide a good answer, without having to rely on a page that specifically addressed this query. The new generative AI format, however, would be able to offer this as a result.
What’s more, the results page would also offer the next steps, which, again, it would be able to answer in a conversational tone.
Shopping Made Better
Generative AI, according to Google, will also make online shopping easier and more pleasant.
When making a product search, users will be shown factors one would need to make a decision in addition to a list of products that fit the bill.
The search result would also show recent (and relevant) reviews, ratings, prices, and images of the products.
Perspective: Human Insights
Certain questions can’t just be answered in a standard format. They might require insights from people—their experiences and opinions.
For such questions, generative AI would allow the search giant to provide a Perspective filter, which would show videos, images, and text-based posts from forums, discussion boards, social media platforms, and Q&A sites.
Whilst companies are making massive strides in AI and large language modelling (LLM) technologies, Google recognises that there’s still a long way to go.
Due to the current limitations of generative AI and LLM, the company is limiting the search queries for which these features will appear, among other guardrails designed to protect the quality of search results.
Does this mean AI will kill SEO? No. On the other hand, SEO and content quality might even need to improve. So, technical SEO companies like Geeky Tech will still be in demand.
However, generative AI might become a tool to deliver better optimisation for better results.
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