Google’s AI-powered search expands outside U.S. to India and Japan
Google is bringing its generative AI search experience to the first countries outside the U.S., the company announced today, starting with expansions in India and Japan. The new AI-powered search feature, also known as SGE (Search Generative Experience), will become available through Google’s Search Labs in those markets, and will introduce a new feature aimed at making it easier to find information in its AI-powered overviews.
First announced at this year’s Google I/O Developer conference in May, SGE introduces a conversational mode to Google Search where you can ask Google questions about a topic and then have it return answers, similar to an AI chatbot. The company in recent months has updated the experience with support for videos and images, local info and travel recommendations, as well as new tools to provide summaries, definitions, and more help with coding-related queries.
It also began to experiment with ads that would be integrated alongside its AI-generated responses, looking to capitalize on the new real estate dedicated to the AI chat experience.
With the global expansion, SGE is being customized for the newly supported regions.
In Japan, users will be able to use generative AI in their local language, while in India it will support both English and Hindi with a language toggle so users can move back and forth between the two. It’s also adding voice input — something that’s popular in India — so users can speak queries instead of typing them and then listen to the responses.
And in both countries, search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots across the page.
Alongside these launches, SGE is introducing a new feature that’s designed to make it easier for people to discover and visit the web pages that back up the information that’s offered in the AI’s responses.
Starting today, users will see a new arrow icon next to information in an AI-powered overview that they can click to see the relevant web pages. This lets them visit the source of the AI’s information directly where they can learn more about the answer to their questions. This is rolling out first in the U.S., and will arrive in India and Japan in the weeks that follow.
The company noted that since the launch of SGE, it’s found the feature is more popular among younger users. Google said the highest satisfaction scores are among those ages 18-24, who like to ask their questions in a more conversational manner.
Google also said people liked to be able to ask follow-up questions and say they’re now asking longer and more conversational questions in full sentences. That’s a different experience than traditional Google searches where users simply type in a few keywords to start a query.
It additionally claimed people were finding the integrated ads useful, but didn’t provide data on click-through rates.