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Google search will never be the same

Geoff Weiss   

Google search will never be the same
  • Google unveiled a revamped vision of its hallmark search product at I/O on Tuesday.
  • "Google will do the Googling for you," its head of search said of the AI-driven experience.

"Google will do the Googling for you."

That's the vision the head of search, Liz Reid, laid out onstage at Google I/O on Tuesday.

Google unveiled an AI-enhanced version of Search, along with a lot of promises.

Google's demos showed how Search can now find yoga studios in your city that have introductory deals, create meal plans for a family of picky eaters, and even troubleshoot what's wrong with your record player and suggest fixes just by reviewing a video you take on your phone.

It's a dramatic shift in functionality for the world's biggest search engine as Google tries to take a lead in the artificial-intelligence race that's captivated tech companies.

In many ways, the new search box operates like a Gemini box — with AI-generated answers you can talk to, like a chatbot.

Reid said AI Overviews, rolling out in the US on Tuesday, would use "multi-step reasoning" to answer complex questions in a single search.

"Research that might've taken you minutes or hours, Google can now do on your behalf in just seconds," she said.

Google's Gemini-powered search features can even make suggestions that they didn't ask about. For instance, a query for a celebratory restaurant recommendation may turn up results that denote live music or rooftop availability.

Reid said these kinds of AI-organized searches would soon be available in categories such as movies, music, books, hotels, and shopping.

Google's new vision for Search is not only a major shake-up for its own future but could transform how the internet works more broadly.

A lot of the architecture of the internet is designed around business models that use SEO to drive hits — and advertising dollars. Turning Search into a chatbot may affect how traffic is distributed.

After all, why click on a link when Google Search can now summarize the information you need?

But Reid appeared to address concerns that the changes could result in fewer website visits in a company blog post.

"We see that the links included in AI Overviews get more clicks than if the page had appeared as a traditional web listing for that query," she wrote. "As we expand this experience, we'll continue to focus on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators."

Google has long dominated the search landscape, but its latest advances arrive amid increased competition from OpenAI.

On Monday, the AI giant unveiled GPT-4o — its next flagship AI large language model with improved voice and vision capabilities.

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