4 Takeaways from Google I/O 2023
Abby Long is the Senior Managing Editor at PMG.
Generative AI was everywhere at this year’s Google I/O, the annual developer conference hosted in Mountain View, California, with Google announcing new features and showcasing the latest artificial intelligence (AI) integrations across Google Search, Maps, Workspace apps, and more.
Unlike its competitors, Google won’t be integrating Bard, its conversational AI chatbot, directly into Google Search anytime soon but instead used Google I/O to outline its plans for harnessing the power of generative AI within its most popular tools and products.
Google Search is getting a makeover as a new era of search begins, with generative AI front and center. At the event, Google announced several experimental AI features that will alter the look and feel of the Google search results page while improving the user experience with more contextual information.
“With new generative AI capabilities in Search, we’re now taking more of the work out of search, so you’ll be able to understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights, and get things done more easily,” said Elizabeth Reid, Vice President & GM of Search at Google, in a blog post detailing the news.
An AI-enhanced Google Search won’t roll out to users just yet, but the prominence of AI throughout Google I/O signaled the importance of its eventual integration into the search results page and seemingly all Google apps and products. To expedite that process, Google unveiled a new testing ground called Search Generative Experience (SGE) that’s accessible via the Google Search Lab for users to test into a variety of generative AI search experiments.
One of the most transformative AI search features announced at the event was AI Snapshot for Google Search. AI Snapshot will power a snippet of AI-generated content directly on the search results page to answer a user’s initial query, helping them get the gist of a topic with an AI-powered overview alongside pointers for exploring more and offering new ways to naturally ask and answer follow-up questions directly on the search results page. SGE will also feature a new generative AI shopping experience built with the Google Shopping Graph to power more reliable and personalized product results.
Starting this week, Google users can sign up for SGE in the Google Search Lab to test these new capabilities, share feedback, and help shape the future of search. For now, SGE won’t offer the same conversational chatbot functionality or integration as Bing’s Sydney or OpenAI’s ChatGPT, as Google’s Bard will remain separate from the Google Search experience.
Bard is also getting a few upgrades. New capabilities, including rich visuals, images in prompts, and new developer tools, are coming soon. As of yesterday, Google removed the waitlist for Bard and expanded access to more than 180 countries and territories around the world. A slate of extensions is on the horizon for Bard as well, including integrations with Adobe, Kayak, Instacart, and OpenTable.
Separate from the Search Generative Experience is a new section coming soon to the Google search results page. Called Perspectives, this new section will prioritize personal perspectives and make it easier than ever to discover personal opinions across a variety of topics and formats in one centralized location.
Perspectives will roll out in the coming weeks, appearing alongside the News, Images, and Shopping categories at the top of the search results page. According to The Verge, “It’ll look more like Pinterest than a typical set of Google results…featuring videos from YouTube, comments from Reddit, Stack Overflow, and other community-first sites, posts from personal blogs, and other things Google’s ranking system deem to be the actual perspectives of actual humans.”
Other AI announcements from Google I/O included:
As part of its commitment to responsible AI development, AI-generated content powered by Google tools and technology will soon feature embedded watermarking and fixed metadata to help users easily identify synthetically generated content.
Immersive View for routes in Google Maps is an all-new experiential way to navigate Google Maps, displaying air quality, traffic, and weather using an AI-created high-fidelity representation of a route or place. Immersive View for routes will begin rolling out this summer, launching in 15 cities by late 2023.
Duet AI for Google Workspace, which embeds the latest generative AI capabilities for data classification, content generation, image automation, and more across Google Slides, Sheets, Docs, and Gmail, is coming soon with the intention of becoming the one-stop-shop for augmenting human creativity, projects, and productivity with generative AI.
Google also unveiled its new language model, PaLM 2, which features improved multilingual, reasoning, and coding capabilities. More than 25 Google products will soon rely on PaLM 2 to power any and all of their generative AI features.
This year’s Google I/O developer conference was all about AI, reinforcing Google’s wide-ranging approach to AI that it calls “bold, yet responsible,” alongside its plans to leverage its portfolio of popular tools and products to cement its market position.
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As the new era of search begins, generative AI represents one of the biggest platform shifts since the Internet began and one that’s sure to see more developments from Google and its rivals in the months ahead.
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8 MINUTES READ | May 31, 2022