Google’s AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE) is a new feature that aims to provide users with AI-based summaries of search results. In this way, users don’t have to click on a bunch of links, and Google will directly tell users what they want to know. In theory, this means that users’ search queries can be more complex and natural, while Google is still able to answer users’ questions. While this feature may seem like a useful addition to Google’s search capabilities, many users have reported that it is too slow and provides lengthy answers. Let us now take a look at the reasons behind these complaints and examine whether Google’s AI search is living up to its potential.
The Slow Search Experience
One of the most common complaints about Google’s AI-powered search experience is that it is too slow. According to a recent article in The Verge, the results take too long to load, making the search experience worse for users. While Google’s traditional search experience is almost instant, the SGE feature takes longer to generate results. This delay can be frustrating for users who are used to getting quick answers from Google.
Waiting several seconds for the SGE’s answer to appear is irritating. While waiting, a blank coloured box will appear on the screen with a loading animation inside. When the search results finally load, the coloured box expands and Google’s summary pops up, pushing down the list of links below.
Well, it appears that only a very patient user will be able to wait for this process to complete. For someone like me, I will simply just scroll down the page and click on the link directly.
Another complaint about Google’s AI-powered search experience is that it provides lengthy answers. According to an article in Slate, the AI-generated search responses can be lengthy and detailed, which can be overwhelming for users. While this level of detail may be useful in some cases, it can also make it difficult for users to quickly find the information they need.
The Verge tests notes…
For example, when searching for “Where can I watch Ted Russo?”, the AI-generated answer has two paragraphs, is correct, and is available on Apple TV+, which costs $6.99 a month. But there is still a lot of redundancy in the answer. On the desktop version, Google will display cards with source info on the right, but users cannot easily tell which info comes from which sources. On mobile, the card appears below the summary text.
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When asked “Where can I buy Tears of Kingdoms?” the results were a mess, with giant sponsor cards and a confusing list of suggested retailers above the results, no list of games when clicked, and no There’s a Google Map that pinpoints these retail outlets. Also, on the right, there are three link cards where you’ll find ways to buy the game. Searching for a used red iPhone 13 Mini isn’t much better.
Google’s Slow Approach to AI
One reason for Google’s slow approach to AI could be due to its AI principles. According to an article in Search Engine Land, Google believes that AI apps should be socially beneficial and avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias. While these principles are admirable, they may be slowing down Google’s progress in developing AI-powered search capabilities.
No answer for popular items
According to The Verge, the SGE sometimes fails to generate answers even for some of the most popular search terms. Items such as “YouTube”, “Amazon”, “Wordle”, “Twitter”, and “Roblox” all return an error message: “Manual Smart overviews are not available for this search.” Words such as “Facebook,” “Gmail,” “Apple,” and “Netflix” all work fine with SGE-formatted answers, but the results also take a long time to display.
The Cost of AI-Powered Search
While Google’s AI-powered search experience may seem like a useful addition to its search capabilities, it may come at a cost. According to an article in Slate, the traditional search experience involves visiting multiple websites, gathering information, and synthesizing it. By providing AI-generated summaries of search results, Google may be reducing the traffic to these websites, which could have a negative impact on their survival.
The SGE is a new AI-powered search feature that Google is testing in Search Labs. It generates AI-generated info at the top of search results, which Google executives say is designed to help users ask better and richer questions and guide them to new ones. However, it is an opt-in, personality-free tool that collates and summarizes search results. While Google has declared that its mission is to organize the world’s info and make it universally accessible and useful, critics have raised concerns about how Google’s search algorithms are affecting people’s ability to think critically and independently.
There is no direct evidence that SGE does not bring a better search experience to people. However, some critics have raised concerns that SGE could lead to a “beautiful plagiarism machine” that could leave online publishers struggling when this new tech is rolled out to the general public. Also, some people are skeptical of Google’s search algorithms and the impact they have on people’s ability to think critically and independently.
While SGE is an experimental feature that could change before wide release, it is clear that Google sees it as a foundational long-term change to the way people search. However, there are concerns about the impact of Google’s search algorithms on people’s ability to think critically and independently. Some critics have raised concerns about the potential impact of SGE on online publishers