AI Overview: A Look at Google’s Latest AI-Powered Search Feature

Generative AI in Search

Google recently rolled out a new Gemini-powered AI search experience which includes AI Overview, multi-step reasoning, planning and AI-organised search results. Currently, it’s only available in the USA, but will soon roll out to other countries over the coming months. Generative AI in search is all about improving the user experience and providing more search engine traffic to website publishers, according to Google.

This article takes a closer look at Google’s new search engine innovation, discovering the advantages and the potential impact on the user experience, businesses and website owners.

What is Google Gemini?

This is Google’s current AI interface formerly known as Google Bard. The platform provides user access to Large Language Models (LLMs), which helps users in exciting new ways as you’ll discover below. Gemini links with Google’s top-tier search systems and swiftly provides people with concise and accurate data related to a particular search query.

AI Overview

The original release of AI Overviews (called Search Generative Experience) in the US allowed users to opt in. However, that all changed recently with the new roll out. Now users have no option but to experience AI Overviews if their search query triggers it (not all queries will).

So, what is AI Overviews exactly?

It’s where Google’s AI bot scrapes relevant information from various sources around the web and presents the user with a summary of their search query. This summary appears at the top of the search results and, if it happens to provide all the answers the searcher is looking for, they won’t even have to click on a web link to learn more.

AI-generated answers to queries are the result and the summary does not attribute the sources used to generate that summary, so nobody gets credit or click throughs. While a quick summary of a query is beneficial for the user, it’s not particularly great for website owners. However, even when a query does generate an AI Overviews summary, you can still opt to see a search page filled with relevant web links.

One potential problem with AI-generated summaries is that of hallucinations, where the AI bot simply makes something up when it doesn’t understand a search query. Therefore, not every summary may be accurate or factual.

Google AI Overview Sample Screenshots

Complex reasoning and planning capabilities

The power of Gemini provides complex reasoning capabilities when using Google. This allows users to ask complex and hard-to-answer questions. Gemini rapidly evaluates the query, understands it and delivers thorough and detailed responses. This feature is most useful when you present the search engine with a long and detailed search query, rather than just three or four words.

Google’s new innovations also include planning support for things like holiday planning and meal planning. In fact, you can take advantage of this feature to plan just about anything you desire. For example, when you ask Google to create a three day meal plan that’s simple to prepare, it delivers a customised plan that includes recipes it scrapes from the web. However, just as is the case with AI Overviews, this is convenient for the user but not so great for web publishers.

AI-organised search results and visual search

AI-organised search results currently focus only on dining and recipes. Soon this feature will encompass books, movies, music, hotels, shopping and more. When a query triggers this Gemini feature, search results appear under AI-generated headlines that offer a variety of content types and perspectives.

Another feature Google is introducing is the capacity for users to pose questions using video content. Rather than typing queries or describing problems, users can instead record a video. Sometimes it’s hard to find the correct words to generate accurate search results, whereas recording a video of your issue can often prove more effective.

How will generative AI in search affect businesses and local SEO?

Google’s aim with generative AI technology in search results is to improve search quality for the end user. However, generative AI powered by Gemini may not provide any advantages for businesses that depend on search engine rankings and search engine traffic. For example, AI Overviews consumes a lot of screen real estate, essentially blocking out the traditional blue links that lead to click throughs to websites. This could potentially result in a decline in traffic from Google.

As far as local SEO goes, so far not much has changed with the roll out of AI Overviews and other Gemini features. For now at least, information regarding local businesses still comes from the usual sources, such as directories, citation sites, Google Business Profiles and so on. Whether this remains the status quo moving forward is anyone’s guess as of now.

We’ll help you optimise your site for Google’s latest releases

Commonsense Marketing is committed to helping local businesses reach page one on Google and stay there. Whenever Google rolls out an update or a new release like Gemini, we adapt our SEO strategy to ensure your website continues to rank in search results for your most important keywords. Contact us today for a free SEO audit and SEO plan for your business

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About Annette Welsford

Hi there. My passion is to inspire and help business owners to create the type of marketing and customer service that makes their business irresistible. I'm privileged to have a talented team at Commonsense Marketing who create and execute beautiful websites, engaging social media campaigns, and fantastic email campaigns that deliver results for our clients. And it's wonderful that many of them have said lots of nice things about the work we’ve done (see our case studies). We love to work with the owners and teams of small to medium sized business who are motivated to become the best in their niche and achieve more than they ever thought possible.