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Google Search, the search engine that once led the company to its path to glory, will soon offer AI-powered summaries, suggestions, and roadmaps based on searches. The engine behind those additions is a variant of the company’s own LLM Gemini, combined with existing search algorithms. It will even be possible for Gemini to analyze videos and provide answers based on them.

The integration will allow users to type in a question (something many users already do), after which Gemini will come up with an explanation, suggestions or a solution to the problem the user raised. The company calls this AI Overviews. To achieve this feat, it uses and references various sources on the Internet. Users can choose to view an extended summary, a condensed view or a step-by-step explanation.

Google announced the new AI extension for Search during its I/O 2024 developer conference.

Concerns about fewer clicks to websites

This naturally raises the question of whether Google Search users will soon not even have to visit a website to get the answer to their question, which means the AI addition would take traffic away from sites that depend on these clicks for revenue.

Google is already trying to soothe these concerns by stating that the company’s tests showed that links to websites in AI summaries get more clicks than links in an old-fashioned list. “As we expand this experience, we’ll continue to focus on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators,” the company promises. The new AI functionality has been tested extensively in Search Labs, Google reports in a blog post.

As an example, Google provides a search query to find a yoga studio that is popular in a particular neighbourhood, is a short distance from the person asking the question and offers a discount to new members. The Gemini/Search duo then makes suggestions, displays links to relevant sites and shows the studios’ locations in Maps.

Brainstorming and planning

According to Google, the AI search tool is also particularly suitable for brainstorming ideas or inspiration. This will initially involve references to products or services, such as suggestions for places to go out, movie tips, music, books, hotels, etc.

Search will also soon offer the possibility of using its planning capabilities based on a search query. That could be for an event, cooking an elaborate dinner, holiday planning, and more. The AI shows all the steps and neatly posts links to relevant websites. Users can then export the schedule as a document to their Google Drive or email it via Gmail.

The Gemini integration with Search will be available first in the U.S., and for now, only in English. By the end of this year, at least ‘one billion’ users are expected to have access to the functionality.

Analysing a self-recorded video

Another noteworthy functionality concerns the ability to shoot a video with your phone and ask questions while filming. For example, “Why isn’t this device working?” The AI then goes to work and looks for solutions to the problem or comes up with an explanation of the issue caught on film. Again, this functionality will first be available in English, and initially only in the US.

Incidentally, it will still be possible to see search results the ‘old-fashioned’ way, by displaying a list of links. The X account Google SearchLiaison posted a message about that on the social media platform. Nothing was said (yet) about possibly paying for search results.

Also read: Google may start charging for search