What is Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) and how to use it?

User interactions with search experiences constantly change with the creation of new digital experiences, and Google Search Generative Experience or SGE has positioned itself as one such noteworthy development in the latest search experience update that is driven by generative AI.

What is SGE?

With SGE powered by the Imagen family of AI models, Google will display an AI-generated snapshot in the search results, sharing key information in a summarized and new visual format, helping users extract more value and insight out of a single search.

The SGE search results will have links, imagery, and next steps, as well as a conversational mode to ask follow-up questions. One will be able to hover over specific words to get a preview of definitions and related diagrams or images.

Some capabilities of SGE also include:

  • Creating Google’s AI-generated images from Google Images (with metadata labeling and embedded watermarking indicating AI-created)
  • Generating written drafts directly from the search bar

SGE has been introduced as an initial experiment of its generative AI capabilities in Search Lab (currently available only on Chrome desktop and the Google App in the U.S.). However, Google has not yet announced when it will be implemented publicly.

What does SGE mean for users and businesses?

Because users will be able to view more informative and engaging summaries of the content in the search results, it will help them decide which link has the information they are looking for, making the process faster and more efficient.

SGE will even transform the online shopping experience. Additionally, the conversational way of searching will encourage more natural questions to which SGE will be able to provide personalized and relevant answers. Follow-up search questions will help refine the results further.

With the integration of SGE, businesses should turn their attention to a few trends that may arise:

  1. No-click searches – Users are less likely to click down the page owing to the robust, visual, interactive display at the top of the SERP. This means that even the top-ranking results will be pushed down. Therefore, businesses will have to rethink their content strategy to add more answer-oriented information with the most relevant data and actionable next steps.
  2. Rapid adoption with no learning curve – Generative AI experiences are getting closer and closer to the way humans naturally interact, which is why there is less to no learning curve, resulting in fast adoption of this tool.
  3. Contextual review and site content – With SGE’s ability to contextually understand review and website content, search ranking will be much more than keywords and star ratings. The actual content in a specific context will matter.
  4. The importance of consistent and updated business information –Large Language Models or LLMs are only as knowledgeable as the information they’re trained on. So, Google will rely on the most contextually relevant information to provide in their generative AI snapshots, and it will look to business pages as the source of truth. Hence, businesses will need to ensure the latest and consistent digital information across all digital endpoints.

How to use Search Generative Experience?

SGE is only available in English and is accessible to a limited number of people in the U.S.

The following are the requirements to get started with SGE:

  • Android phones will need the latest version of the Google app.
  • A personal Google Account
  • Chrome sync should be activated for the account.
  • Web and app Activity should be turned on. In the sub-settings, include Chrome history and activity from sites, apps, and devices that use Google services.

SGE should be turned on while browsing. It can take some time for the experiment to appear.

  • Open the Google app on your Android phone.
  • Sign in to your Google Account.
  • Tap the Labs icon on the top left.
  • On the SGE while browsing card, switch the experiment to Turn on.
  • If you agree to the Terms of Service for the experiment, select I agree.
  • Tap Try an example.

The SGE features are triggered while browsing only when the system detects it’s useful for a web page. It won’t appear for all web pages and paywalled content.

One can use the SGE features while browsing when:

  • Opening a web page from a search or Discover page
  • Clicking the action menu on the top right.
  • Viewing page insights

SGE features are available for the page where the Generate button is shown in Page Insights.

The implications of SGE for businesses

At the surface level of what SGE could mean for businesses, new marketing and advertising opportunities, personalized summaries of content that are tailored to the specific needs of prospective customers, increased visibility and click-through rates, improved customer experience (CX), and as a result, increased satisfaction and loyalty are some of the positive implications.

These advantages of SGE for business purposes also come with potential challenges that are best to anticipate beforehand.

  1. Content designed to work with generative AI

For their digital content to work successfully with SGE, businesses will need to resort to more conversational and informative content, requiring considerable changes in writing, structure, and organization.

In addition to high-quality materials, content producers and SEO experts will have to churn out content that satisfies the new demands and is in line with the latest search culture that SGE will enable.

  1. Competition with other businesses

The competition for visibility in SERP will rise as more businesses start adopting SGE. Looking for innovative ways to stand out from the crowd through the most informative and engaging summaries will be a never-ending process.

  1. Decrease in organic traffic

Reasonably, there will be a noticeable decrease in organic traffic depending on the niche, business model, and keyword types. Moreover, when the answer is already viewable on the SERP, there will be higher zero-click searches. The regular organic results will also be pushed down.

SGE will introduce a significant shift in the way we interact with search engines, with a more efficient and effective search experience. Businesses will benefit from increased visibility and click-through rates as long as they provide quality digital content. The productivity boost that generative AI is bringing to the global economy can only be inhibited by the speed at which these latest technologies are adopted.

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