Ever since ChatGPT came out last year, many big tech companies have been speeding up their innovations and investments in generative AI. We have seen generative AI in almost every consumable content, but one space where we’re now seeing a lot of excitement with it is online browsing. Generative AI search is here and is transforming the way you browse for information online.
We have already discussed what generative AI is. Let’s understand how it is becoming significant in online search.
Difference Between Generative AI Search and Regular Online Search
Regular worldwide search has been around for a long time, precisely since September of 1990 when the Archie search engine came into existence.
The normal world wide web search is manual; you are required to enter your query or keyword into the search engine’s search box. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others rank the websites returning the desired content results according to their proprietary methodology.
For instance, the website’s readership, page quality, and authority in the pertinent niche. The search engine then ranks each website in relation to your search and displays them all based on their rank. A website with rank one, for instance, will appear at the top of search engine result pages.
Which is to say that, standard internet search engines do not produce content. They merely share stuff from many websites.
With generative search, on the other hand, you will only receive a few results. The underlying AI will evaluate each result from the search, create unique content, and present it to you through a web browser. Links to the sources the generative AI used to create the stuff it displays to you might be present.
A lot of it is happening already…
Microsoft’s Bing with AI Capabilities
Back in February, Microsoft announced the AI-powered Bing search engine and Edge browser “deliver better search, more complete answers, a new chat experience and the ability to generate content.”
The all new Bing, presented as a copilot for web for users, promised to deliver better search experience, complete answers and a chat experience. It is powered by the same OpenAI technology behind ChatGPT.
When the new Bing was first introduced, Microsoft said that its chat function was “more powerful than ChatGPT” and was powered by a new iteration of OpenAI’s large language model.
Later, it was discovered that OpenAI’s GPT-4, its most sophisticated model, has been driving Bing’s AI conversation the entire time.
You can ask the Bing AI bot questions to receive human-like detailed responses with footnotes linked back to the original sources. It can also help you with creative ventures like writing a song, poem or essay, and even generate images from text through Bing’s Image Creator.
Microsoft later made major announcements at Microsoft Build 2023 in May regarding AI updates within Bing Chat.
The biggest announcement was that it is bringing the all-new Bing to ChatGPT as its default search experience.
This basically means that ChatGPT’s knowledge is no longer limited prior to 2021 on which it was trained. Instead, it will now be able to answer any and all questions by indexing the whole of Internet.
In comes Google with SGE
Google came into the generative search scene in direct competition with Microsoft’s Bing. The company is rolling out new AI features for Search.
Approximately three months ago, Google had announced Search Generative Experience (SGE) aimed at helping users better learn and understand online information.
Initially, users could obtain solutions to their how-to inquiries or view created code snippets. This was through SGE’s AI-generated overviews of various programming languages and tools.
However, recently Google announced several new features to SGE in an official statement. These features include tools to show meanings of unfamiliar terms and those that help grasp and code information across languages.
The tech giant also disclosed a feature to SGE that would help programmers grasp codes more thoroughly using generative AI.
The statement read:
“With our new changes, code segments in overviews will now be colour-coded with syntax highlighting, making it faster and easier to identify items like keywords, comments, and strings, helping you better digest the code you see at a glance.
SGE while Browsing
The fascinating one, though, is a feature that allows you use SGE’s AI capabilities while you browse.
SGE while browsing is only an early experiment under Google Search Labs for now and aims at easing user search experience beyond the web results page. It is created to make it easier for web visitors to locate what they’re looking for by assisting them in engaging with long-form content from publishers and artists.
For instance, on some websites, you can tap to get an AI-generated list of the main points covered in an article, including links that will take you right to the section you need.
The page will also have a “Explore on page” option allowing you to see the questions an article responds to before navigating to the pertinent part.
The function is similar to the current content-highlighting search functionality that takes you directly to the relevant text when you search for particular terms and a matched result is discovered. It is, however, AI-powered this time.
Google notes, however, that the SGE features will not provide AI summaries for paywalled articles. Publishers can also opt to block the feature by determining their content as paywalled in the Help Center.
The recent initial developments for Generative AI in search hold potential to completely revolutionise the way people browse for information online. It is redefining how we find information online and changing the search landscape. The search experience has reached new heights thanks to its capacity to produce responses that are similar to those of humans, comprehend context, and personalize search results.
With tech giants such as Microsoft and Google investing heavily in this space, we can expect fast-tracked innovations to make us feel at ease while searching online. The fascinating science of artificial intelligence is unending, and as time passes we can expect generative AI to become common in our online browsing experiences.