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Google is “reimagining” search in “the Gemini era” with AI Overviews

Search for the best pilates studioes in Boston
Enlarge / “Google will do the Googling for you,” says firm’s search chief.


Search is still important to Google, but soon it will change. At its all-in-one AI Google I/O event Tuesday, the company introduced a host of AI-enabled features coming to Google Search at various points in the near future, which will “do more for you than you ever imagined.”

“Google will do the Googling for you,” said Liz Reid, Google’s head of Search.

It’s not AI in every search, but it will seemingly be hard to avoid a lot of offers to help you find, plan, and brainstorm things. “AI Overviews,” the successor to the Search Generative Experience, will provide summary answers to questions, along with links to sources. You can also soon submit a video as a search query, perhaps to identify objects or provide your own prompts by voice.

Google’s video pitch for searching “in the Gemini era.”

If you want to plan a vacation or a meal plan or brainstorm ideas for weekend adventures or date nights, you’ll get suggestions based on Google’s far-reaching data trove: ratings, store hours, directions, weather, flights, events, and the like. Google focused on “people, places, and things” in touting its ability to, for example, find “the best yoga and pilates studio in Boston.” That’s one example of a multistep query, though you could add on “within walking distance of my home” or “open on Sundays” to that kind of query.

AI isn’t just answers; it’s the search page’s layout itself. Results with AI overviews can sometimes be expanded or contracted with versions like “Original,” “Simpler,” and “Break It Down.” Categories are generated by AI so that a search for an anniversary dinner might have sub-sections about romantic spots, outdoor patios, live music, and the like.

While Reid characterized AI Overviews as offering “a range of perspectives,” there’s certainly a chance for a new kind of SEO game to take root underneath a new AI-fed, drastically simplified search result. Google claims in its blog post that links included in AI roundups are clicked more than standard search listings. The search and ad firm says it will “continue to focus on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators” and that ads will have “clear labeling” to distinguish “organic and sponsored results.”

If you’re eager to try out Google’s AI Overviews, you can opt in earliest through Search Labs, specifically the “AI Overviews and more” experiment. Otherwise, the rollout is:

  • AI Overviews are rolling out this week for the US
  • The “Simplify” and “Break it Down” features come to (US) Search Labs in the coming weeks
  • Mult-step questions in the weeks ahead for US Search Labs
  • Planning features, like meals and trips, are already live for Search Labs, coming later this year with customizations and other planning.
  • AI organized categories arrive in the coming weeks in the US for dining and recipes, with more to follow.
  • Search with video is launching in the coming weeks for Search Labs users.

This post was updated with more specific timings on AI search feature arrivals.

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