How to Enable or Disable Generative AI Search results on Google?

Cathy Edwards of Google introduces generative AI
Cathy Edwards of Google. Image from Google’s I/O 2023 keynote replay

The way we search online is evolving quickly with the rise of conversational and generative AI models such as ChatGPT and Bing AI Chat. Google introduced the Search Generative Experience (SGE) to adapt to this changing trend. If you signed up for the new Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) but find that regular search results work better, you can switch off the AI feature.

SGE is the feature that appears at the top of search results, using AI to generate complete answers without requiring you to open a web link. Although AI can answer many questions, it’s still in its early stages and may not always be accurate.

If you’re noticing inaccuracies or prefer the traditional results page with links, you can turn off Generative AI from the results page.

Learn about SGE or generative search on Google, including its definition, how it works, its pros and cons, and, most importantly, how to disable it. This guide will walk you through the steps to disable and enable AI search results on Google.

What is Generative AI Search on Google?

A look at what’s next for AI and Google Search | Google I/O 2023 (Source: YouTube/Google)

Let’s talk about how Google’s new way of searching, called SGE or generative AI search, is changing things. Before, when you used Google, it would show you results based on what you typed in the search bar. For example, if you were looking for a weight training fitness trainer in downtown Portland, Oregon, you had to go through different websites, check qualifications, and read reviews.

But now, with SGE, things are getting easier. It’s like having a conversation with a smart computer. You can ask detailed questions, and it gives you quick answers with useful website links. It’s not just a search result; it’s more like a chat with a computer that understands you.

Before SGE, Google tried using AI with something called Google Multisearch on phones, but SGE is a big improvement. With SGE, you can ask long questions, get a summary of the topic you’re interested in, and even have a back-and-forth conversation with the search box.

This doesn’t mean SGE is replacing the good websites on the internet. Instead, it makes searching better. It helps you find information without doing a lot of manual work, and it connects you to the best stuff on the internet. So, SGE is like a smart helper that makes searching on Google more efficient and enjoyable.

Benefits of Using Google’s Generative AI Search

  1. Easily Find Answers: Google’s Generative AI allows you to search for complex questions and quickly receive easy-to-understand answers supported by a wealth of facts and data, eliminating the need to navigate through the entire internet.
  2. Deep Dive into Websites: When necessary, you can delve deeper into the results from websites that complement the AI-generated answer, providing a more comprehensive understanding.
  3. Improved Relevance: The search results on Google become more relevant to your query, enhancing the overall search experience.
  4. Quick Summaries: Obtain quick and concise answers in summary format for common topics, making information retrieval efficient.
  5. Informed Shopping Decisions: Receive high-quality search results for shopping inquiries, enabling you to make well-informed buying decisions.

Limitations of Google’s Generative AI Search

  1. Beta Testing Phase: The Generative AI Search is still in the beta-testing phase, indicating that it is undergoing testing and refinement.
  2. Limited Availability: Currently, this feature is only available in the USA and supports searches in US English, restricting its accessibility for users outside this region.
  3. Inconsistencies in AI Snapshots: The AI-generated snapshot and displayed web results may not always align, leading to potential discrepancies in the information presented.
  4. Hallucination Issues: Similar to other large language models, Generative AI Search may suffer from hallucination, generating inaccurate or nonsensical content.
  5. Bias in Top-Ranking Websites: There is a potential bias issue where the AI snapshot may be influenced by the top-ranking website in the search results, posing a challenge in maintaining objectivity.

How Generative AI Search Works on Google Search

Cathy Edwards introduces the new AI search functions on Google. (Image Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
Cathy Edwards introduces the new AI search functions on Google. (Image Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Google has introduced a new way of searching called Generative AI Search. This fancy term means that when you search for something, the results can include content generated by artificial intelligence (AI). Alongside the usual website links, ads, and other information, you might also see AI-generated summaries, similar to how the ChatGPT app works.

The goal is to make it easier for people to ask complicated questions directly to Google, without needing other AI tools. When you ask a question, you’ll receive responses that feel like you’re talking to an expert on the topic. Unlike ChatGPT, which can’t browse the internet for the latest information, Google’s Generative AI Search can.

Google AI Search Results Snapshot

Here’s a simple breakdown of how it works

  • Sometimes, instead of just showing you website links, Google’s Generative AI Search will display a summary created by AI at the top of the page.
  • This AI-generated snapshot gives you a quick overview of the topic you searched for. For instance, if you’re a physics student and ask, “What is Schrödinger’s equation?” you might see a brief AI summary right away.
  • After understanding the topic from the snapshot, you can ask more questions to the AI or explore the suggested websites for a deeper understanding. It’s a bit like reading a ChatGPT write-up but with a focus on the specific information you’re looking for.

Conversational Search with Google AI

When you use Google Search, you might encounter a new feature called Conversational Search powered by Google Search AI. This feature enhances your search experience by offering interactive options. Two buttons, “Converse” (appearing above the AI snapshot panel) and “Ask a follow-up” (available below the AI summary), allow you to engage in a chat with the AI.

search result with generative AI of google

By clicking these buttons, you enter a chat interface where Google Search AI responds to your follow-up questions. Additionally, below the AI snapshot, you may find more search ideas related to your original query. For instance, if you were exploring the Schrödinger equation, suggested searches could include questions like:

  1. Is it possible to solve the Schrödinger equation?
  2. Is Schrödinger’s equation still used?
  3. Why is I in the Schrodinger equation?
conversation with Generative AI of google

This feature enables Google Search to act like an AI research assistant, offering a more natural and conversational interaction for users.

Innovative Search Outcomes

Discover unique and imaginative results with Generative Search Experience, going beyond typical internet searches. If you’re looking to buy a new intelligent kitchen gadget on Google Search AI, you’ll not only find product options but also creative suggestions on showcasing it on social media or creating engaging YouTube content for your channel.

Similarly, when you search for a specific query or keyword like “online business” on Google Search, the AI snapshot can provide a condensed summary of online business concepts and offer insights into potential careers or entrepreneurial ventures. This makes starting a business with AI support very easy.

How to Disable Generative AI on Google Search Results?

To stop Google from showing AI-generated search results, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Google Search on your desktop web browser.
  2. Click the Search Labs button in the top-right corner.
  3. Find the SGE toggle switch and turn it off to disable AI-generated search results.
  4. The “Try an example” button will turn grey from blue.
Click on the “Search Labs” icon
Click on the “Search Labs” icon
Next, toggle off the SGE
Next, toggle off the SGE

After completing these steps, Google will display search results without AI-generated content.

How to Enable AI-generated search results on Google?

To enable Generative AI for Google search results, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Google Search on the web.
  2. Click the Search Labs button in the top-right corner.
  3. Locate the SGE toggle switch and turn it on to enable AI-generated search results.
  4. The “Try an example” button will turn blue from grey.
Toggle on the SGE to turn on Generative AI Search on Google
Toggle on the SGE to turn on Generative AI Search on Google

Once these steps are done, the next time you search on Google, you’ll see a traditional page with results, along with AI-generated content using the Search Generative Experience.

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