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Google is experimenting with a new AI-powered conversational mode in Search

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Google I/O presentation
Image Credits: Google

Google Search is introducing a new experimental conversational mode that is powered by generative AI, the company announced at its annual I/O developer conference today. Instead of rolling out the product immediately, Google will be opening a wait list under a new experimental program called Search Labs.

In this new experience, users will see suggested next steps when conducting a search and along with an AI-powered snapshot of key information to consider, with links to dig deeper. When you tap on a suggested next step, Search takes you to a new conversational mode, where you can ask Google more about the topic you’re exploring. Context will be carried over from question to question.

Google notes that in the past, if you wanted to know “what’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, bryce canyon or arches,” you would have had to break this query down into smaller ones and sort through a bunch of information and piece things together yourself. With generative AI, Search will be able to understand this query.

The experience is integrated with Google Shopping and is designed to quickly connect users with useful information online. For instance, say you’re looking for a new bike. With this new experience, you will get a snapshot of noteworthy factors to consider and products that fit the bill. You will see the option to ask a follow-up question or select a suggested next step. You can ask if the bike comes in new colors, and Search will understand your intent and know that you’re looking at specific bikes.

Generative AI search, choosing a commuter bike
Image Credits: Google

The new generative AI shopping experience is built on Google’s Shopping Graph, which has more than 35 billion product listings, Google notes.

The experiment is called Search Generative Experience (SGE) and will be available in the U.S. on an experimental basis through Google Labs in the coming weeks. If you’re in the U.S., you can join the waitlist today by tapping the Labs icon in the latest version of the Google app or Chrome desktop.

With new generative AI capabilities in Search, Google says it’s taking more of the work out of searching, so users will be able to understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights, and get things done more easily.

In this new generative experience, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page, but Google notes that it will continue to ensure that ads are distinguishable from organic search results.

Read more about Google I/O 2023 on TechCrunch

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