Google has announced new AI features coming to Google Search, including the ability to generate images and writing inspiration using the company's latest generative AI capabilities.

"Search has long been a place where you can find information to help with life's questions—whether they're big or small. Advances in AI have driven us to develop simpler and smarter ways to help users uncover valuable insights and make sense of information." Senior Director of Product Management for Search Hema Budaraju said in an official blog post announcing the upgrades.

The tech behemoth expects to make its Search function more intuitive and user-focused. Users can now harness the power of generative AI to visualize their ideas. For instance, if someone wants to visualize a capybara donning a chef's hat while preparing breakfast, Google's AI-powered Search experience (SGE) can generate images to match this exact description. These capabilities extend to Google Images, offering AI-generated visuals based on search queries like "minimalist Halloween table settings."

Generative AI means simply an AI able to generate new content according to an instruction. The most common examples are ChatGPT (which generates text from users’ instructions), Dall-E 3 (which generates images based on text instructions) and Runway (which generates videos from text). This is a rapidly growing industry which is expected to bring $4 trillion to the global economy in the near future, according to a report by global management consulting firm McKinsey.


Safety and responsibility are at the forefront of these advances, the company says. Google wants to make sure image generation adheres to its prohibited use policy, avoiding any harmful or misleading content. Every image produced through SGE has metadata labeling and watermarking to indicate its AI origin.

Google’s AI-assisted search will also help draft content. For example, if someone is exploring home improvement projects, they can ask SGE to draft a message for a contractor, streamlining their search and communication processes.

Google has been investing heavily in AI this year. And reflecting its new AI-centric approach, the company’s "Helpful Content Update" in Google Search now focuses on "content created for people,” moving away from its traditional "written by people" phrasing.

Further highlighting Google's commitment to AI, the recent “Made by Google” event showcased the new Pixel 8 and 8 Pro smartphones which leverage AI for optimal performance thanks to the brand new Tensor G3 chip. At that same event, the unveiling of Assistant with Bard stole the show. Google's next-gen AI-enhanced digital assistant is a powerful, AI-powered, competitor to Siri.


With generative AI's undeniable influence in 2023, especially in driving the recovery of the S&P 500 post the COVID-era downturn, Google's advancements promise a brighter, more intuitive future for online search.

And if that makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Public sentiment around AI isn’t great, according to recent polls by Pew Research. But if one of the world’s largest companies is now adjusting to the new AI times, maybe it’s time to accept that this tech is here to stay.

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