Google adds links to webpages in SGE’s AI-powered answers

Posted by Edith MacLeod on 31 Aug, 2023
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Access to Search Generative Experience via Google Labs has been extended to India and Japan.

Search Generative Experience links.

Image: Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Google has announced that it is adding links to webpages in its Search Generative Experience AI-generated answers. It said that testing had shown people find it easier and more understandable to have links within the overview itself.

Google has been testing various ways of adding links and has now decided to go with the down-arrow format.

“... starting today, when you see an arrow icon next to information in an AI-powered overview, you can click to see relevant web pages, and easily learn more by visiting the sites.”

@glenngabe posted a screenshot of what this looks like on 24 August. Google’s blog post has now made it official.

SGE links

Image: Twitter

SGE remains experimental and Google noted this in its blog post, saying they would continue testing and listening to feedback. It also noted their priority of driving traffic to relevant websites.

“It’s important to note that generative AI in Search remains an experiment and we’ll continue testing different ways of presenting results and listening to feedback, while prioritizing approaches that continue to drive traffic to relevant websites.”

Access via Search Labs opened up to the US first, and has now been extended to India and Japan. The links feature will be available in the US first, rolling out to India and Japan in the coming weeks.

Google has faced criticism from publishers and searchers about the lack of citations and possible misinformation in their generative AI. Adding links in SGE summaries is a response to this and will help in verifying sources.

Google also shared feedback they had received over the few months since SGE was launched.

It said the highest satisfaction scores came from young (18-24) users who said they enjoyed being able to ask follow-up questions conversationally.  The suggested follow-up questions were seen as useful in helping people with examples of how to refine their search.

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