Google unveiled a series of upcoming "experiments" and modifications to its search features. Although it's still early, implementing these changes could mark the most significant update of key internet spaces in quite some time.
What are the changes in the search experience so far?
Search Generative Experience (SGE)
SGE is a new way to search the web using generative AI. Generative AI is artificial intelligence that generates new content such as text, images, and code. A great thing about SGE is that it provides more relevant and comprehensive answers to users’s search queries.
What are the benefits of it?
- Understand complex topics quickly
The SGE summarizes complex topics from any source in a way that is understandable to anyone. It saves time and effort of never-ending googling and researching.
- Compare and contrast different options
The SGE gives you a comparison between different products, services, or ideas. It can be helpful while making decisions and taking a list of benefits and features.
- Get creative
SGE is commonly used for generating creative ideas, and content in general. Even blog posts, recipes, or code snippets. It can help you while starting with some project or giving ideas and inspiration.
A new search experience
Even though it’s still in development, Google’s Generative Search AI (Notes) is available for some markets. Let’s take a look at how it works in practice and how it affects publishers.
Unlike the search experience we are used to, the Notes will show up at the top of the search results. Notes will bring snapshots and key information about the topic. Also, it will show a few useful links and suggested questions to continue with the search.
Google positioned Notes as a place for people to share experiences and knowledge. Moreover, users can get the best and most relevant search results.
But, what does that mean for publishers?
- Impact on traffic
This shift threatens to reduce the traffic directed from Google to publishers' websites. More users may find the information they seek directly on the Google search page. Predictions are that with this strategy up to 90% of inquiries will end without going to a landing page.
- Impact on partnership revenue
There's a possibility this may impact the revenue publishers generate from partnerships. As relevant information appears at the top of the search results, not many users will visit specific web pages. Without visiting a specific page and backlinking the affiliate revenues will suffer.
- Instant updates with hashtag subscription
Users will have an option for subscribing to a specific hashtag. Using push notifications, Google can inform them as soon as new changes on topics appear. This change places media and news portals in an undesirable position since users will be subscribed to specific topics.
On the other side, a new search filter is meant to spotlight humans. Google Perspectives offers a new way of showcasing individuals. Although the outcome remains uncertain, will this change how people consume news?
Google is working on Perspectives that bring user-generated content into search results. Content such as Reddit and Quora discussions, blog posts, and YouTube videos. Centralized information suffocated people. Information is concentrated around certain business and Social Media accounts.
That’s why Perspectives' goal is to show human ideas, experiences, and discussions across the web.
Here’s how Google describes it:
“...when you search for something that might benefit from the experiences of others, you may see a Perspectives filter appear at the top of search results. Tap the filter, and you’ll exclusively see long- and short-form videos, images, and written posts that people have shared on discussion boards, Q&A sites, and social media platforms…
Helpful information can often live in unexpected or hard-to-find places: a comment in a forum thread, a post on a little-known blog, or an article with unique expertise on a topic. Our helpful content ranking system will soon show more of these “hidden gems” on Search, particularly when we think they’ll improve the results.”
With this change, Google will give a voice to additional internet users. Independent reporters, columnists, and journalists may express themselves. That opens up many new questions:
How will publishers fit into it? Does the independent reporters and columnist count? Is this the new stream and channel publishers should pay attention to more?
Or are we going back to the 2000s when forums were a thing?
Even though it’s still in beta testing we can agree that these changes will influence media and news portals. There are strong concerns about how new search experiences will look. From this perspective, Notes and Perspective will impact website traffic, affiliates, and revenue.
It remains to be seen how companies will adapt to this trend and how they will fight for the attention of their readers.