Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is expanding the availability of the AI-powered generative version of its search engine, called Search Generative Experience (SGE), outside the United States. The software, which the company says is still beta, will soon be available in India and Japan.
SGE serves as a testbed for a future in which Google search is intertwined with the conversational interface of an AI-powered chatbot. India and Japan will allow Google to better measure how SGE works at scale in different languages.
In India, the app will provide support for both Hindi and English, in addition to voice search and voice responses. Users in both Japan and India will have to opt in to use SGE.
In addition to increasing the program’s presence outside the United States, Google says it is working to improve the way links to web pages appear in production AI responses. Now, the company explained, generative AI answers will have arrows next to them that point to drop-down lists that, when clicked, display the websites the search engine got its information from.
Google also provided a range of insights into how SGE will be received by early adopters. According to Hema Budaraju, Senior Director, Search Product Management, Google sees the highest satisfaction rate among users aged 18-24 years. In particular, Buddaraju explained in a blog post, these users like to be able to ask follow-up questions to their initial search queries.
“People tell us they find the suggested follow-up questions useful for seeing examples of how to improve their search, and they ask longer, more conversational questions in full sentences because generative AI in search can help them quickly find what they’re looking for,” said Buddaraju.
“Overall, we’re seeing people trying queries they never thought they could search for before, which creates new opportunities for Google to be useful.”
More importantly, for Google’s business, Budaraju says users find ads either above or below the large SGE box on the screen. Google gets the bulk of its revenue from ad sales, and reinventing the search engine experience means having to figure out how ads coexist alongside the SGE fund. By acknowledging that users will still find ads in SGE, Google is looking to allay any concerns that the change will be negative for its advertising business.
However, SGE isn’t the only AI-powered search engine in town. Microsoft ( MSFT ) has been offering its AI-powered generative version of Bing search for months, giving it a significant lead over Google, which is still testing SGE.
Microsoft intends to steal market share from Google little by little by forging ahead in the field of generative artificial intelligence. In February, the Windows maker said that just 1% of the search market share was worth $2 billion.
The two companies are locked in a back-and-forth struggle that will walk away with the AI crown. Microsoft is adding creative AI capabilities to both its consumer and enterprise products, including its Microsoft 365 productivity software.
On Tuesday, Google responded with Duet AI in Workspace and Duet AI in Google Cloud. Adding to the competitive standoff, Google has priced Duet AI in Workspace at $30 per month per user, the same amount Microsoft charges for Microsoft 365 Copilot.
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