In a significant update to its search engine experience, Google is now testing artificial intelligence (AI) overviews within its main search results. This new development means that users may encounter AI-generated summaries for a certain subset of queries, even if they have not opted into the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) labs feature. According to a Google spokesperson who spoke to Search Engine Land, this experiment targets a “small percentage of search traffic in the U.S.” and is limited to a specific range of queries. The move marks a departure from May 2023, when Google first introduced the Search Labs section. Initially, this feature was optional, allowing interested users to experience AI-driven search results firsthand.

What This Means for Users

Users selected for this test will see AI overviews integrated into their search results. Google aims to deploy this feature for queries where generative AI could provide significant value, especially for complex questions or those requiring insights from multiple web sources. For example, queries like “how do I get marks off painted walls” might trigger these AI overviews. Google asserts a high level of confidence in the quality and utility of these AI-generated summaries, suggesting they will offer an enhanced informational benefit compared to traditional search results.

The Purpose Behind the Test

Google’s strategy in rolling out this feature to users outside the SGE labs is twofold. Firstly, it seeks to gather broad-based feedback on the utility of AI overviews from a wider audience. Secondly, it aims to assess how generative AI can enhance the overall search experience for the general population. This feedback will be crucial in fine-tuning the AI’s performance and its integration into the search ecosystem.

Advertising and Its Role

Notably, Google plans to maintain its current advertising model, incorporating ads within and around these new AI overview experiences. This decision underscores the tech giant’s commitment to balancing monetization with innovation in user experience.

Implications for Websites and Advertisers

The introduction of AI-generated overviews in search results could have mixed effects on website traffic and ad visibility. On one hand, these overviews might reduce overall site visits by providing answers directly within search results. On the other hand, they could potentially drive more targeted traffic to sites cited in the overviews. The exact impact, particularly on organic and standard search ads, will likely vary based on how Google integrates these features and where it places ads in relation to AI summaries.

Looking Forward

While it’s still early days for this feature, Google’s experimentation with AI in search reflects a broader trend towards more intelligent, responsive search engines. The ongoing tests will be crucial in determining how AI overviews are received by the general public and how they might be refined for wider release. As Google continues to innovate, the future of search looks to be increasingly personalized, efficient, and informed by AI.


Google’s initiative to test AI overviews in search results without requiring user opt-in represents a forward-thinking approach to enhancing the search experience. By carefully monitoring user feedback and the impact on website traffic, Google aims to strike a balance between innovation and utility. As this feature evolves, it promises to reshape how we interact with information online, making search results more comprehensive, accurate, and tailored to our needs.

FAQs About Google’s AI Overviews in Search Results

Do I need to opt into Google SGE Labs to see AI overviews in search results? No, Google is currently testing AI overviews on a subset of queries for a small percentage of U.S. search traffic, without the need for users to opt into the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) Labs.

What types of queries will trigger AI overviews in Google Search? Google is focusing on complex queries or those that benefit from synthesizing information across multiple web pages, such as “how do I get marks off painted walls,” where generative AI can provide particularly helpful insights.

How will the introduction of AI overviews affect the visibility of ads and organic search results? While the full impact remains to be seen, the inclusion of AI overviews could potentially push down both organic and standard search ads, affecting site traffic differently based on where the citations are referenced from and ad placements.

What is the purpose behind testing AI overviews without requiring an opt-in? Google aims to gather feedback from a broader audience to understand how generative AI can improve the search experience for the general population, not just those who have opted into SGE Labs.

Will ads still appear in search results with AI overviews? Yes, Google will continue to show ads within and around the new AI overview experiences, maintaining its existing advertising model.