Google introduces generative AI in Search in major update

Alphabet Inc.’s Google on Tuesday said it’s rolling out a version of its ubiquitous search engine that includes responses written by artificial intelligence, in one of the most significant overhauls since the iconic gateway to the internet was founded decades ago.

The company started using AI to draft responses to questions last year, but people had to sign up for an experimental version of the product to try it. Google will make the new iteration of search, featuring what it calls AI Overviews, available to US users this week and in more countries in the coming months, reaching more than 1 billion users before the end of the year, the company said at its annual I/O developers summit in Mountain View, California.

For the company that has become synonymous with search, the biggest single change in “Googling” is that some responses to queries will now come with a more narrative response that spares people the task of clicking through various links.

“There’s so much innovation happening in search,” Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said onstage at the event. “Thanks to Gemini, we can create a much more powerful search experience.”

Long the dominant search engine globally, Google has faced increased competition from the likes of OpenAI, which just on Monday introduced a faster and cheaper AI model called GPT-4o that will power its popular chatbot, ChatGPT. –BLOOMBERG