Evolution not Revolution – Testing Google’s new Generative Experience’

Google Labs for Search Generative Experience

At first glance, Google’s new ‘Search Generative Experience’ looks to be a complete transformation of the way we search, and the way that organic search results are presented. However, from our extensive testing in Google Labs, we feel is more evolutionary in it’s delivery.

to recap, “Search Generative Experience” is the new ‘AI’ search project announced in May this year. Aimed at unlocking longer tail, and more complex search queries that Google does not yet fully understand.

Unlocking Long Tail Searches

The search examples Google provided are super long tail questions with multiple parameters. Their examples include, “How long to spend at Bryce Canyon with kids? or, “what’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, bryce canyon or arches.” Note in both those instances Google highlights them as questions. The first question includes duration [how long], location [Bryce Canyon] multiple people and ages [kids], the second questions expands this further – 2 locations [Bryce Canyon] or [Arches], multiple people and ages [kids] and a pet!

What Google is looking to encourage, and understand is longer form, specific questions that would once have been a thread that started with one question, like ‘best time to visit bryce canyon’ or ‘dog friendly places in Bryce Canyon’ which would then become a string of related searches as the user sought to find the answers to their search queries.A

An example of Google’s SGE result. Note the complexity of the question and the three ‘answer links’ to the right of the green text.

More Questions than Answers

The big headline difference, between SGE and current search results is the ‘converse’ tab you will see displayed in the above search result. This converse screen will try to answer your question with information Google has sourced and collated from multiple web sources. Google clearly states, ” You’ll also find helpful jumping-off points to web content and a range of perspectives that you can dig into.”

Below the ‘answer’ is suggested ‘next questions’ that Google thinks would extend or refine the query. Note also, there are still links on the right hand side of this ‘answer box.’ This question and answer style emulates the human interaction that has made Chat GPT so popular.

More Data Sources for Search Results = More Opportunities for your brand

Watching the Google demonstrations we can see that wider data sources, and media types will gain higher visibility within these search results. Video, especially looks to have a greater presence in these search results. This echoes our belief that video will play a more important role for brand discoverability in search.

Google has also stated that reviews will take on an even more important role within these search results. From the announcement, “We know that people want to hear insights from others to help inform their decisions, so we’ve designed these new experiences to highlight and drive attention to content on the web, making it easy for people to dive deeper on the topic they’re learning about. As we bring generative AI into Search, we’re committed to continue sending valuable traffic to sites across the web.”

The new ‘Perspectives’ tab and confirmation that Google Business Profile results (and reviews) will take on more importance further suggest reinforce this view, and provide us with opportunities to evolve our organic search presence ahead of time.

Evolution, not Revolution in Search

From what looks like a major revolution in search is more of an evolution from current search elements like answer boxes, Chrome journeys, PAA and related search queries.

We expect much could change before the new search generative experience rolls out but for now brands need to consider more ‘question and answer’ content in wider formats such as video.