Exploring Google’s New AI-powered Search Experience and its Potential Impact on Ads

Google is preparing to introduce ads within its new AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE), as depicted in a video shared in a recent blog post

Google is preparing to introduce ads within its new AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE), as depicted in a video shared in a recent blog post. This development has raised concerns about the potential intrusiveness of ads in the search results. The video showcases examples of sponsored links integrated within the SGE, demonstrating how ads could significantly impact the user experience.

In the video, a mobile search for “outdoor activities to do in Maui” displays regular sponsored links above the SGE. These ads end up pushing the SGE, which is Google’s innovative AI product poised to revolutionize the search process, almost entirely off the page. Upon tapping the “Ask a followup” feature within the SGE results, the video simulates a user typing “hiking backpacks for kids.” The subsequent SGE results include listings for backpacks, among which is a sponsored link prominently displayed at the top.

As the video continues, it scrolls down to the “Ask a followup” prompt once more, revealing another set of Google ads positioned below it. Upon asking about learning to surf, the SGE generates a text summary with linked cards, and the video proceeds to show additional ads related to surf lessons and kid-focused activities. These multiple instances of ads appear within just three search queries, raising concerns about the overwhelming presence of ads within the SGE.

Source: Google

It is worth noting that the video was part of a blog post promoting Google’s ad products, potentially emphasizing the possibilities rather than the definitive appearance of ads. Google’s VP and GM of ads, Jerry Dischler, mentioned in the blog post that the company intends to experiment with Search and Shopping ads that are seamlessly integrated into the AI-powered snapshot and conversational mode of SGE. Dischler further highlighted the company’s exploration of “new formats native to SGE that use generative AI” for creating ads.

Although the current depiction of SGE ads is met with some criticism due to their dominance and lack of distinction from organic search results, advertising plays a vital role in Google’s revenue stream. As Search remains Google’s flagship product, the company is likely to include ads in the widespread release of SGE, regardless of user preferences. While users can currently join the waitlist to try out SGE as an experimental feature, the integration of ads seems inevitable, considering the need for Google to monetize the extensive AI work invested in this innovative search experience.

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