Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is an experimental feature that uses AI systems to summarize search results for users. SGE aims to provide users with more complex and conversational search queries, allowing them to receive comprehensive information without having to click through a list of links or type in another search query. However, the tool has received mixed reviews, with some users expressing dissatisfaction with the loading time and cluttered responses.
Pros of SGE
One of the main benefits of SGE is that it uses AI systems to summarize search results for users. This means that users can receive more comprehensive information without having to click through a list of links or type in another search query. For example, when a user searches for “where can I watch Ted Lasso?” the AI-generated response that appears is a few sentences long and factually accurate, providing users with information about the show and the platform it is available on.
Another benefit of SGE is that it provides users with potential follow-up prompts related to their initial query. These prompts can help users to refine their search and find more specific information related to their query. Additionally, SGE displays source information as cards on the right-hand side of the screen, allowing users to easily identify the sources of the information provided.
Cons of SGE
One of the main drawbacks of SGE is the loading time. As Google is generating an answer to the user’s query, an empty colored box will appear with loading bars fading in and out. When the search result finally loads, the colored box expands, and Google’s summary pops in, pushing the list of links down the page. This loading time can be frustrating for users, particularly those who are used to instant search results.
Another issue with SGE is that the responses can be cluttered and difficult to navigate. On desktop, Google displays source information as cards on the right, even though users cannot easily tell which pieces of information come from which sources. On mobile, the cards appear below the summarized text. Below the query response, users can click a series of potential follow-up prompts, and under all of that is a standard Google search result, which can be littered with additional info boxes.
Finally, SGE’s summaries are not always accurate, and the extra information provided in the search results can be confusing and irrelevant. For example, when Google showed off SGE at I/O, it demonstrated how the tool could auto-generate a buying guide on the fly. However, a search for “where can I buy Tears of the Kingdom?” resulted in a cluttered response, littered with giant sponsored cards, suggested retail stores that did not actually take users to listings for the game, a Google Map pinpointing those retail stores, and link cards where users could find their way to buying the game.
While SGE has the potential to provide users with more comprehensive information and improve the search experience, it has received mixed reviews due to its loading time, cluttered responses, and inaccuracies. Users who are used to instant search results may find the loading time frustrating, and the cluttered responses can make it difficult to navigate the search results. However, SGE’s potential to provide users with more complex and conversational search queries may make it worth trying for some users. Ultimately, whether or not to use SGE will depend on individual preferences and needs.