Google rolls out generative AI to Search in Africa
The new technology can unlock entirely new types of questions that Search could not previously answer.
Simply put, SGE is a new generative AI experience in Search to help you get even more from a single search. Photo: iStock
With new breakthroughs in generative artificial intelligence (AI), starting today, Google has rolled out its Search Generative Experience (SGE) in sub-Saharan Africa as an opt-in experiment in Search Labs.
This AI-powered experience, which is available in English, will expand to new locations and several Spanish-speaking nations, including those in the US.
Google is reimagining what a search engine can do and is bringing the new capabilities to Search in a bold and responsible way.
Simply put, SGE is a new generative AI experience in Search to help you get even more from a single search.
The search giant said the new technology can unlock entirely new types of questions that Search could not previously answer and transform the way information is organised in Search to help people sort through and make sense of what’s out there.
Wambui Kinya, General Manager for Search in Africa, said Google’s vision for Search continues to be rounded in the company’s mission of organising the world’s information and making it universally accessible.
“Over the past 25 years, we’ve been devoted to science and craft of building an incredible search engine. We have built a quality experience you can rely on while also developing completely new ways to ask questions powered by AI.”
Improving Search with generative AI
With SGE’s generative AI capabilities in Search, people will see an AI-powered overview of key information to consider, with links to dig deeper. For anyone who has ever been overwhelmed by the amount of information online, this will help them find answers more quickly.
For instance, with a question like “Does honey ever spoil?” Normally, you might break this question down into smaller ones, sort through the vast amount of information available, and then start to piece things together yourself. With generative AI, Search can do some of that heavy lifting.
SGE first delivers an overview, and beneath this, users will see suggested next steps where they can simply tap a query like “What is the oldest honey ever eaten?”, or type in a specific follow-up question. This conversational experience enables people to intuitively learn more about the topic they’re exploring.
Context will be carried over from question to question to help people more naturally continue their exploration.
Voices and sources
Google said it designed these new experiences to highlight and drive attention to content on the web, making it easy for people to dive deeper into the topic they’re learning about.
“With SGE, Google is showing more links and links to a wider range of sources on the results page, creating new opportunities for content to be discovered.”
Google said while Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page, it will feature clear and transparent ad labels with the “Sponsored” label in bold black text.
Kinya said with new generative AI capabilities in Search, Google is now taking more of the work out of searching.
We’re imagining a supercharged Search that does the heavy lifting for you, so you’ll be able to understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights, and get things done more easily.
Kinya said safety is one of Google’s top concerns when bringing any new feature to Search and with new technologies like Gen AI.
“We put a lot of care and attention on how to do this in a responsible way. One of the insights we discovered during the evaluation process was the more fluent and well-written the responses were, the more people trusted the content, even when the content offered inaccurate and non-sensical output, often referred to as hallucinations.
“We will continue to improve the quality of the responses through fine-tuning with human feedback,” said Kinya.
Google is bringing SGE as an experiment in Search Labs, available on Chrome desktop and the latest version of the Google App on Android and iOS.
Access via Chrome desktop is available today, and access through the Google app will be enabled over the coming week – people can opt in to try it out and share feedback directly with the teams working on it.
Simply tap the Labs icon in the Google app or Chrome desktop and visit labs.google.com/search to learn more.