Google starts testing its AI overviews on the general public

Google Search Labs.
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google confirms that it has started a test with non-enrolled SGE users, giving them access to its AI overviews in Search.
  • The company stated it is eager to collect feedback from the general public about where it needs to improve its generative AI.
  • Google brought AI overviews through Lens to its main Android app in January, and its newly appointed head of Search, Liz Reid, stated she wants more AI in the engine.

Google is reportedly expanding the reach of its SGE test to include U.S. users who haven't signed up for its beta environment.

According to SearchEngineLand, users who aren't in Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) environment have noticed new AI features (via 9to5Google). Search users not in SGE should soon notice its AI overviews when running a query through the engine.

Google confirmed to the publication that it is "starting with a set of queries where it thinks generative AI can be especially helpful." The company adds its expanded generative AI test, which is aimed at users' complex questions that will push its AI to scour multiple sources across the web.

Google commented that the purpose of expanding the test is to gather feedback from the general public.

The company states it is "confident" that the value and quality its SGE feature brings will help the end user. Moreover, these AI overviews may not appear in a widespread fashion for the bulk of Google Search users.

Google is testing several variations of its generative AI experience, and only a "small subset" of U.S. users will see it. 9to5 adds that this test will include those who haven't signed into Google, as well.

Google Search page on a Google Pixel 7 Pro

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Google launched Search Labs in May 2023, and the test environment brought loads of generative AI features that users could playtest. One notable feature was a way users could ask the AI a follow-up question for additional information about a query's answer. AI was also seen urging users to consider certain factors related to technology, such as battery life or other quality aspects.

The company rolled out AI overviews onto the main Google app on Android alongside Circle to Search. The overviews are present during multi-search moments through Lens, giving users access to a wealth of information collected on a subject and the AI's sources.

More AI and SGE tests are on the horizon for Search as Google appointed Liz Reid as its new head on March 19. Reid touted a background in AI at Google before rising to lead Search further through the use of the company's generative AI software. During her announcement, Reid stated that Search will implement more SGE and AI overviews, focusing on its ability to understand context-rich queries.

The test we're seeing roll out now for non-enrolled SGE users sings a similar tune, meaning we're likely on the cusp of those AI additions.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.