Google Introduces AI Overviews in the US, Expanding Globally Soon

Google has launched AI Overviews for all US users, aiming to reach hundreds of millions by next week and over a billion globally by year-end, announced by Liz Reid at Google I/O. These overviews use generative AI to provide summarised answers, showing higher click-through rates than regular search results, though click data won’t be separated in Search Console.

Hema Budaraju, Senior Director of Product for Search Generative Experience, noted that AI Overview link cards outperform traditional web results in click-through rates. However, Google won’t separate data for these AI Overview links in Search Console.

Alongside AI Overviews, Google is rolling out new Search Labs AI features such as multistep reasoning, planning capabilities, AI-organised search results, and a new Google Lens ask-with-video feature.

AI Overview Details

Launched within the Search Generative Experience in May 2023, AI Overviews were initially opt-in via Google Search Labs. In March 2024, Google began testing these for a subset of users. Powered by Google Gemini, AI Overviews deliver brief, AI-generated responses based on web content.

 

AI Overviews Display Criteria

AI Overviews appear for complex queries where they add value. For simpler searches, Google will not display AI Overviews. Google has not disclosed the percentage of queries triggering AI Overviews. Ads will continue to appear on search results pages, clearly marked as sponsored content.

Health, Medical, and Financial QueriesAI Overviews may be shown for health, medical, and financial (YMYL) queries. Studies indicate a decline in AI Overview appearances since testing began.

Impressions and ClicksGoogle will include AI Overview impressions and clicks in Search Console reports but won’t distinguish them from traditional search data. This is similar to Microsoft’s approach with Copilot in Bing Search.

Accuracy and Reporting IssuesErrors can occur, such as a recent incorrect medical suggestion by an AI Overview. Users can report inaccuracies by clicking on the three dots on the AI Overview. Over time, Google expects AI Overview accuracy to improve.

Opting OutWebsites can opt out of AI Overviews by using standard search controls like robots.txt or meta tags. Google has provided documentation on how to prevent content from appearing in AI Overviews. Currently, users cannot opt out of seeing AI Overviews.

Featured Snippets and AdsFeatured snippets will continue alongside AI Overviews. Google Ads will present new features at Google Marketing Live on May 21st, with a focus on leveraging generative AI to enhance ad opportunities.

AI Overviews are now available to US searchers and will expand globally. Google has been testing this feature for a year, claiming increased user satisfaction and a broader range of website visits. This advancement is powered by a new Gemini model, offering enhanced reasoning, planning, and multimodal capabilities.

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