Google Announces New AI ‘SGE While Browsing’ Feature

Google in a Chrome browser

Google has announced a new feature for its experimental AI-enhanced search engine, Search Generative Experience (‘SGE’).

SGE already summarizes search results by giving users an AI-generated answer or ‘snapshot’ for a query, but the new feature — ‘SGE While Browsing’ — aims to summarize web pages that you have already clicked through to from search results.

On certain articles that you click through to using Google’s SGE search engine, you’ll be able to tap an SGE While Browsing option that will show an AI-generated list of the key points the article covers, along with links that will take you to each piece of relevant information.

And you’ll be able to use an “Explore on page” option to view key questions that the article addresses — and jump to the relevant section to discover the answers.

(The animation below from Google gives you a sense of how this works).

Google's demonstration of SGE While Browsing (as used on a smartphone)
Google’s demonstration of SGE While Browsing, as used on a smartphone (image source: Google).

It’s probably simplest to think of this new feature as an AI generated table of contents for an article (complete with jump links), or an automatically generated FAQs section — many blog posts don’t contain either.

So a key benefit of this new feature is that it may provide users with a useful ‘TLDR’ introduction that helps them digest article content quickly.

The downside is that it may reduce time spent on page — which may have negative implications for both readers (who miss out on potentially useful or engaging content) and publishers (who miss out on advertising opportunities).

Since the emergence of ChatGPT and its rapid rise in popularity, Google has been racing to develop generative AI tools and this new ‘SGE While Browsing’ feature is just one of many AI initiatives by the company. In addition to this feature, Google has this week also rolled out an AI tool that helps you understand definitions used in SGE search results — this lets you hover over certain phrases and view AI-provided definitions of them (see below for a visual demo of this).

The new tool for getting phrase definitions in SGE (image source: Google)

The SGE While Browsing feature is currently available in the Google app on Android and iOS, and is coming to Chrome on desktop in the next few days. If you’re already opted into SGE, you’ll automatically have access to this experiment, but if you haven’t already opted in,“SGE while Browsing” is also available as a standalone experiment from Google’s Search Labs website.

Note however that not all Google users will have access to Search Labs — you must be based in the US and be using a personal Google account (i.e., not a Google Workspace one).

You can learn more about the new features discussed above on Google’s ‘Keyword’ blog.

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