Experience the Innovation as Google Unleashes AI-Powered Search Results for Improved Online Queries

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Google on Tuesday said it would bring AI-generated answers to online queries, marking one of the biggest changes to its world-leading search engine in 25 years.

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“I’m excited to announce that we will begin launching this fully revamped experience, ‘AI overviews,’ to everyone in the US this week,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai at an event in California.

The change will soon spread to other countries, eventually reaching more than a billion people.

Google’s search results will now feature an AI summary at the top of the page before the usual list of links.

The AI blurbs, generated by Google’s Gemini technology, will provide concise summaries of what it found on the internet, with links to the original sources.

“You can ask whatever’s on your mind or whatever you need to get done – from researching to planning to brainstorming – and Google will take care of the legwork,” said Google Search team boss Liz Reid.

The change comes as Google faces growing pressure from AI-powered search engines like Perplexity and rumors that OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, is developing its own AI search tool.

AI chat searches have also appeared on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, allowing users to get information from the web without using Google.

These alternatives are praised by some for offering a cleaner experience than the often cluttered results of a traditional query.

Creators and small publishers are worried about the change, fearing users will no longer click through to websites for information.

Research firm Gartner predicts that web traffic from search engines will fall by 25 percent by 2026 due to AI bot usage.

Google pushed back against the idea that ChatGPT-style AI interactions could hurt its business, which relies heavily on advertising revenue from its search engine.

“We’ve found that with AI Overviews, people use Search more and are more satisfied with their results,” Reid said.

“You can ask your most complex questions, with all the nuances and caveats you have in mind, all in one go.”

Google stated that these generative AI tools are simplifying life for users, whether they’re searching for a yoga studio open on Sundays, planning a trip, or preparing a meal with special dietary requirements.

The company will soon begin testing AI searches based on video content as a query source, according to Reid.

For example, users could ask Google to diagnose a broken appliance by filming it with a smartphone and receive tips on how to fix it.

Google also provided a preview of Project Astra, which focuses on building digital assistants to help with various tasks.

“For a long time, we wanted to build a universal AI agent that can be truly helpful in everyday life,” said Google DeepMind chief Demis Hassabis.

“It’s easy to envision a future where you have an expert assistant by your side through your phone or exciting new form factors like glasses.”

AI agent capabilities will debut in Google products such as the Gemini app or Assistant later this year, according to Hassabis.

Google is in a fierce AI race with rivals, including OpenAI, which released a GPT-4o version of its flagship software on Monday.

GPT-4o can generate content or understand commands in voice, text, or images.

OpenAI’s update to its technology proved to be extremely conversational – able to crack jokes, write songs, and tutor a student in algebra.

Google, like OpenAI, also demonstrated its AI recognizing surroundings via a smartphone camera and showcasing other assistant-like skills.

These new abilities are designed to be “conversational, intuitive, and helpful,” according to Gemini Experiences and Google Assistant general manager Sissie Hsiao.

Creating digital assistants that function as savvy sidekicks is seen as the next battleground for generative AI, with Apple reportedly close to an agreement with OpenAI to use ChatGPT’s capabilities on the iPhone.

That deal could be part of the major AI announcements expected from the iPhone maker at an event in California next month, with all eyes on a potential update to Siri, Apple’s digital assistant.

© Agence France-Presse

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