Google’s Generative AI: the Potential Impact on Search and E-commerce

Nick Arthur

Google, the tech giant known for its relentless pursuit of innovation, has recently announced an experiment being conducted in its Search Labs. The experiment, named SGE (Search Generative Experience), is the company’s latest attempt to revolutionise search capabilities using a technology known as generative AI.

Although this experimental technology is available for testing in the U.S. on the Chrome desktop and Google’s Android and iOS applications, it is essential to discuss its potential implications, bearing in mind that the real-world effectiveness of these new features in augmenting the user search experience is yet to be thoroughly evaluated.

The primary objective of integrating generative AI into search systems is to enhance the search experience by delivering more relevant information, offering richer context, and providing valuable insights.

The technology is designed to help process complex queries that go beyond simple keyword matching, providing snapshots of key information, suggesting potential next steps, and facilitating a more conversational interaction between the user and the search engine.

However, while these features might seem promising on paper, their actual functionality, practicality, and efficiency in real-world search scenarios are yet to be determined. It is worth questioning how accurately this technology can interpret complex, context-rich queries and whether it can indeed offer a more user-friendly and efficient search experience compared to traditional search algorithms.

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Another aspect of Google’s generative AI is its potential application in e-commerce searches. The technology promises to provide users with a more streamlined shopping experience by offering critical factors to consider, detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, ratings, prices, and updated product listings from Google’s extensive Shopping Graph.

While these offerings might simplify online shopping for users, the effectiveness and accuracy of these AI-generated insights are yet to be tested. There is a lack of clarity on how the technology handles the dynamic nature of online shopping, including frequently changing prices, product availability, and customer reviews. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether generative AI can indeed offer a more seamless and efficient online shopping experience.

A significant claim from Google regarding its generative AI is the technology’s ability to highlight a variety of voices and sources. Google asserts that this technology will help drive more traffic to different sites across the web, while ensuring a clear distinction between ads and organic search results.

However, this claim invites scepticism. A pertinent question is whether the AI’s algorithm might inadvertently favour some websites over others, leading to a skewed representation of information on the web. There are concerns about whether Google’s generative AI might lead to an echo chamber effect, where users are predominantly shown content that aligns with their previous search patterns and preferences.

As Google ventures into new territories with generative AI, it acknowledges the limitations and potential pitfalls of this technology. The company asserts that it is taking a responsible approach by maintaining high-quality standards, implementing additional safety measures, and constantly working on technology improvements.

However, these assurances also inadvertently raise concerns about the areas where the technology might falter and the potential consequences of such shortcomings. The onus is on Google to ensure that the transition to AI-driven search does not compromise user data privacy and security, and that the technology is robust enough to handle the vast and diverse nature of web content.

Another critical area of discussion is the impact of Google’s new generative AI technology on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). With a shift towards understanding complex, context-rich questions, traditional keyword-focused SEO tactics might need to adapt to this new landscape.

However, whether this change will lead to an overall improvement in the search experience or add another layer of complexity to the already intricate field of SEO is uncertain. The SEO community will need to closely monitor these developments and be prepared to modify their strategies accordingly.

The generative AI update might also impact the click rate on organic search results. With AI-generated responses directly answering user queries, users might find these summaries sufficient for their search.

Key Takeaways

  • There is a new update to Google’s Generative AI algorithms that will likely have significant effects on SEO in the future.
  • There may be fewer clicks on organic search results due to the changes brought by the update.
  • Video content may become more important in SEO compared to text-based content.
  • Posting content on multiple platforms, such as TikTok, YouTube, and others, increases the chances of being picked up by Google’s generative AI.
  • Google Discover, the feature on Google phones, is similar to the concept of generative AI in search.
  • E-commerce SEO may benefit from the update, emphasising the importance of well-optimised product information and schema.
  • Asking contextual questions within the search query may become more relevant and useful with AI advancements.
  • Google may try to push people away from TikTok and towards YouTube with its generative AI algorithm.
  • Posting content on various platforms and increasing online presence can improve the chances of being included in Google’s generative AI results.
  • Google Search Labs offers an opportunity to test the new generative AI and stay on the cutting edge of SEO.
  • Posting broadly across the internet and using schema markup are likely to be important factors for SEO success.
  • The new generative AI update is available on the Chrome desktop and Google app for Android and iOS users in the US.

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