Monday, September 25, 2023
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Google search starts returning generative AI results similar to ChatGPT

Google’s “generative search experience” is a plan to place ChatGPT-style generative AI results directly into Google’s search results page, and the company announced the feature’s rollout today. At the very least, the feature is rolling out to the mobile apps for people who have been on the waiting list and selected as early access users.

Unlike Google’s stark white page with 10 blue links, Google’s artificial intelligence results appear in colored boxes on top of the regular search results. Google will scrape a bunch of information from around the internet and present it in an easy list, with purchase links to Best Buy and manufacturers’ websites.

If deployed at scale, this would be the biggest change to Google’s search results ever, and this design threatens to upend the entire internet. A typical screenshot of a desktop “Bluetooth speaker” search shows a large row of “sponsored” shopping ads, and then the AI’s generative results start popping up in a big blue box about halfway through the first page. The blue box summarizes the set of information obtained from somewhere It lists many completely unsourced statements and opinions about each speaker. In the Google example, users are never told where this information comes from, so they can’t make any judgment about its reliability. All the links seem to go to the manufacturer’s websites, and under that blue box, down two or three screens, there are finally links to more neutral third-party sites. The ultimate design goal seems to be “no one will ever click on an external search link again”, and that would force a lot of sites to shut down.

For now, at least, there are beneficial results for AI. You will have to open the Google search app and click on the new “lab” flask at the top left. Then you can sign up for “Search Labs,” which includes ChatGPT-style results. You’ll just join the queue at this point, and if this works anything like Bard’s, a full release could be months away. When Google announced the whole “Search Labs” idea, it said that the features “will be available for a limited time.”

Listing image from Google



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