A few Google users are about to start seeing a very different set of search results. company announced this morning They open up access to Search Labs, their new home for testing search features. The Labs are still protected by a waiting list, and it’s not clear how quickly Google intends to let people in, but two weeks after the Labs was announced at Google I/O, it has at least started shipping.
The Labs’ most interesting feature is the generative search experience, which places an AI-generated summary at the top of search results across Google. You ask for information about the Defenestration of Prague, and instead of directing you to Wikipedia or Google’s infamous “ten blue links”, Google will create a few paragraphs of information and offer you some links for further reading.
SGE could be the biggest change in Google search history, and it will be fascinating to see what early adopters experience. It can have huge ramifications for how people search and even what they search for. This will completely upend the SEO industry, with everyone fighting to be in the AI feed instead of the now-clicked links below. And if users mostly get what they need from summaries and therefore don’t click on the page as often, it could change the entire business model of the web. Google has talked a lot about being both bold and responsible in its rollout of AI, but now that those features are in users’ hands, all bets are off.
In addition to SGE, Labs also includes two other features: Add to Sheets, which places a button next to each link in your search results that will add that link to the Google Sheet of your choice; and Code Tips, a large language model-based system specifically designed to help you write and fix code. The spreadsheet button doesn’t exactly boggle the mind, but the fact that it’s in the labs actually tells us — Google Search is so big and so important that the company wouldn’t add even a tiny bit of hidden code without testing it.
google do Lots of testing now, By the way. You can sign up for Workspace Labs to test out the AI features in Gmail and Docs, tinker with the new AI-powered Tailwind notebook, and even play with Google’s text-to-music tool. When it comes to searching, if you’re not already on a waiting list, you can sign up on the Search Labs page. If you’ve already signed up, you’ll get an email when you can get into our labs and see how AI will change the way you search.
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