The Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) started rolling out early usage during its testing phase. Since then, it has started showing some problems to those who have been able to see this feature on their search engine results.
What is Google Search Generative Experience?
Google Search Generative Experience combines search results with AI-generated text. This experience kicks off after you initiate a search query: Instead of showing you a direct snippet from a website link and before giving you a list of websites, Google SGE summarizes search results into a blurb that is written by AI.
This blurb is a combination of information that is taken from different websites. It is supposed to work as an assistant that helps you get answers from multiple sources without having to go through each of these sources. In turn, Google SGE aims to save users the time and effort it takes to get a comprehensive answer from a single web search.
Early Google Search Generative Experience Reviews Outlines Faults in the Service
While the Google Search Generative Experience aims to improve user search experience, it also threatens the traffic that a website can get through organic search results. By combining information from multiple sources into a single blurb right on top of search results, it could reduce the searchers’ motivation to actually visit these websites to get their answers.
But with this effect aside, early Google Search Generative Experience reviews also highlighted other fallacies in the search engine’s offering. This included the following issues.
Not Highlighting Direct Attribution
Generative text is supposed to summarize the content on a website into its own words. But the current iteration of the SGE is pulling direct quotes from websites without clear attribution in its default view. It is not until the view is expanded by the user that you can see the website link where the information is taken from.
Obscure References and Links
In default view, Google SGE lumps its sources to the right side of the AI-generated blurb. If there are more than three sources, you need to click on a navigation button to see them. This obscures the website links where the information comes from and reduces the chances of them being credited or visited by the searcher.
Personally-Identifiable Information Could Be Exposed
In order to be a part of the Google SGE experiment, you need to provide it with some information. But SGE specifically asks users to not provide it with any personally-identifiable information for safety purposes. If anyone does not read the privacy notice before moving forward with using SGE, they could put themselves in harm’s way.
Google Promises to Take Feedback Into Account
For almost all of the views that were shared publicly on Twitter for Google SGE, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan posted individual responses to address the review, complaint, or feedback. To summarize, Sullivan assured users that Google SGE is still in its experimental phase and will be improved with constant feedback, with all of these reviews being taken into account.
Google SGE may still have a long way to go. But with Bing’s AI rollout currently restricted to Microsoft Edge, Google may have a beneficial market at hand by making its offering available to a larger portion of Google Chrome users.