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Google unveils AI overviews in the US, with a global rollout expected soon

Google launches AI Overviews in the US, enhances search with AI-generated summaries, and plans to expand globally by year-end.

Google has announced the launch of AI Overviews in the , with plans to expand this feature globally, reaching over a billion users by the end of the year. This update was revealed by Liz Reid, the new head of search at Google, during the Google I/O event.

What is an AI overview?

AI Overviews, first introduced in May 2023 as part of the Search Generative Experience, provide answers to user queries using generative AI technology powered by Google Gemini. It offers concise snippets of information based on the available across the web related to the query. Initially available as an opt-in feature in Google Search Labs, AI Overviews began broader testing in March 2024 for a select group of users.

This feature is designed to enhance the search experience by providing more value in the results for complex queries where Google feels it can contribute more significantly. However, not all searches will trigger an AI overview, as Google aims to display them only when they can provide additional insight beyond standard search results.

Alongside AI Overviews, Google is introducing new Search Labs AI features, which include multistep reasoning, planning capabilities, and AI-organised search results. Another exciting addition is the ‘Google Lens ask-with-video' feature, enriching the interactive capabilities of Google's search tools.

Hema Budaraju, the Senior Director of Product, Search Generative Experience at Google, highlighted that link cards within AI Overviews generate a higher click-through rate compared to traditional web search results. Despite this, Google will not provide specific impression and click data for AI Overview links in the Google Search Console, choosing instead to combine them with traditional search data.

Despite their benefits, AI overviews have not been without their issues. There have been instances where the AI provided incorrect advice, such as suggesting medically unsound practices. Google has been quick to address these errors, showing a commitment to improving accuracy over time.

Google also clarified that AI overviews would be shown regardless of whether ads are displayed, focusing instead on adding value to the search results. Ads will continue to appear in their dedicated slots, clearly labelled to distinguish between organic and sponsored results.

The introduction of AI overviews represents a significant shift in how Google handles search queries, particularly for complex or “your money, your life” (YMYL) topics such as health and finance. This feature is part of Google's broader strategy to use generative AI to handle more diverse queries and create new opportunities for advertisers.

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Emma Job
Emma Job
Emma is a freelance news editor at Tech Edition. With a decade's experience in content writing, she revels in both crafting and immersing herself in narratives. From tracking down viral trends to delving into the most recent news stories, her goal is to deliver insightful and timely content to her readers.

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