Google starts testing AI overviews from SGE in main Google search interface

by | Mar 23, 2024 | Digital Marketing, Google, SEO

Google is currently conducting tests on AI overviews in the main search results, even for users who have not specifically opted in to the Google Search Generative Experience labs feature. The testing is taking place on a small percentage of search traffic in the U.S., according to a Google spokesperson.

Previously, in May 2023, Google had introduced a Search Labs section where users could choose to opt in to view and utilize the Google SGE results featuring AI overviews. However, now some users in the U.S. may encounter these AI answers without actively opting in.

The AI overviews will be displayed to a limited number of U.S. users, particularly for queries where generative AI can offer valuable assistance. Such queries are typically more complex or require information from various web pages, like “how do I get marks off painted walls.” Google has expressed confidence in the quality and relevance of these queries to users, ensuring that the AI overviews provide additional value compared to the current search results.

Google will be testing different variations of these AI overviews, suggesting that not all users will have access to the same experience during the testing phase. The aim of including non-opted-in users in the testing process is to gather feedback from a broader audience and assess the usefulness of this technology to the general population.

Despite the introduction of AI overviews, Google will continue to display advertisements within and around these new experiences. The presence of AI answers may impact the visibility of organic search results and standard search ads, potentially leading to fluctuations in website traffic depending on the source of citations and ad placements.

It is anticipated that the AI overview experiences may result in a decrease in overall traffic to websites compared to the current search results. As Google continues testing this feature, the impact on website traffic and search results will become clearer. At present, users no longer need to be part of the SGE labs to access AI overviews, as Google is testing this functionality in real-world search scenarios.

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