Google Tests SGE AI Overviews In The Wild (Subset Of US Users)

Mar 25, 2024 - 7:41 am 377 by
Filed Under Google

Google Robot Computer Legacy Sge

On Friday, Google began to test SGE-based AI overviews in the real Google search results. That means you may see AI overview snapshot answers in Google search results without being opted into the Google search labs experiment. This is being tested on a small subset of searchers based in the U.S., Google told me.

Want to know more about SGE, see my original story on Google Search Generative Experience. Keep in mind, the original Search Labs end date was December 2023, but then Google simply removed the date and left it as a labs experiment.

Now Google is testing showing the AI overviews, maybe SGE light, here is a screenshot of that, in Google Search for some users who didn't ask for it.

Google Sge Lite

Here is a more full version of the AI overviews:

Google Sge Ai Overview

Google told me that on Friday they started to test AI Overviews on a small percentage of search traffic in the U.S. for certain categories of queries. Ads will continue to show, Google expressed to me.

They decided to expand the test to those beyond who have opted in "to get feedback and learn how a more general population will find this technology helpful."

Google is now experimenting with AI overviews in Search for a subset of queries on a small percentage of search traffic in the U.S. Google may expand that test to more users over time, maybe in more regions.

Google also said that they are first starting with a set of queries where we think gen AI can be especially helpful. Specificallu, Google said they have been able to learn the types of queries where generative AI adds significant value beyond what you are already getting within the normal Google Search results. Google said "these queries are often more complex, or involve questions where it may be helpful to get information from a range of web pages – like “how do I get marks off painted walls.”

For these tests, Google said they have high confidence in the quality and value these queries bring to users. In general, Google will show AI overviews when it’s truly additive and in the instances when people would get a better response than what they’d see on Google Search today.

Also, you may see a few different variations of these AI overviews (as you see them, send them my way).

On the clicks from SGE to publishers, Google gave me the line that they continue to prioritize approaches that send valuable traffic to publishers. Google said they are showing more links to sites with SGE in Search than before, creating new opportunities for content to be discovered. Does that mean more traffic? Google would not say.

But Google testing it outside of the search labs is a big deal.

Here is some of the reaction:

And no, we don't have data in Search Console to see impressions, clicks and click through rates:

Forum discussion at X.

Update: Thursday, March 28, 2024 it seems we are now seeing searchers who did not opt into Google SGE are seeing AI overviews. It started at about 12pm ET as per some of the complaints listed in the Google Web Search Forums:

Google Sge Ai Overviews Complaints

Google Sge Ai Overviews Complaints2


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