I've Just Tried Google's New AI Search Engine
Here's everything you need to know about it.
A few days ago, I tried the Search Generative Experience (SGE), an AI-powered search engine that uses AI to answer questions on Google Search.
I tested the SGE with the typical questions we’d give AI search engines like Bing and coding questions we’d give to ChatGPT. In this article, we’ll see everything you need to know about Google’s new AI search engine and how to get access to it.
How to try Google's New AI Search Engine
Google's new AI search engine isn’t available to everyone yet, BUT you can enable it with Google Labs.
To enable this new functionality, go to Google Labs and scroll down until you find the section “Help shape the future of information.“ Then click on get started.
If you’re outside of the USA, you might get the message “Search Labs isn’t available for your country right now.“ A free VPN can easily help you bypass that message. After clicking on “Get Started” you should see the page below. Feel free to turn on all the new features.
Let’s explore these 3 new features!
Generative AI in Google Search is “Fine”
Say I want to know how to explain chess to a 7-year-old. If you search this on the new Google Search powered by AI, you’ll see a new field with AI-generated text.
As you can see, the answers look similar to what you’d get with Bing. Below the new field, there are still the typical Google search results with featured snippets, articles, and YouTube videos.
You can ask a follow-up question or choose one of the three recommended questions on the right. In case you click on the “Ask a follow up“ button, you’ll be sent to a new page that takes the form of a chat with Bing.
Overall Google's new AI search engine doesn’t bring anything you can’t find on Bing or ChatGPT. It takes information from a bunch of websites and puts it on top of the search result. For example, I asked “what are the best youtube channels for AI?” and in the results, it picked the channels recommended on 3 websites (one of them was my YouTube channels, by the way 😊)
That said, if Google's new AI search engine doesn’t know the answer to your question, it’ll only return the traditional search result.
And if you think Google's new AI search engine will free us from seeing ads in the search results, I have bad news, they might still appear! Here’s what I got after searching “How should I learn Python?“
Overall, the new Generative AI in Google Search seems fine but doesn’t bring anything we haven’t seen on Bing or ChatGPT.
But that isn’t bad … the worst thing is yet to come.
“Code Tips” in the new Google Search powered by AI isn’t always helpful
Google named “Code Tips” to its AI-generated code inside Google Search and I have to say that it’s a bit disappointing.
It works well for simple questions like “How to join dictionaries in Python?“
But when you ask it to build a script for a specific task, it might give you code that doesn’t work.
And you know what’s the worst part?
You can’t ask it to debug the code because for “Code Tips“ the “follow up” button isn’t available as we’ve seen before with AI-generated text.
When it comes to generating code, using the free version of ChatGPT is way more helpful than Google’s new AI search engine.
“Add to Sheets“ seems too basic
The last feature I tested on this new Google Search is “add to sheets”—a new functionality that makes it easy to add search results to a collaborative spreadsheet, so you don’t need to copy and paste information.
If you have this Add to Sheets enabled, it will appear when you hover over most search results.
After clicking on the green icon, a window will pop up. You have to choose the spreadsheet where you wish to save the information. After selecting the spreadsheet, you’ll get the link on a cell.
To be honest, I was expecting “the 10 most underrated summer destinations” listed on the spreadsheet as items instead of the link to the website. The way it’s now, I can’t see how this feature can be useful for most people.
Overall Google's New AI Search Engine is decent for generating text but not so useful for generating code. Fortunately, this is still an experimental feature that hopefully will improve over time.