Google AI overviews launch in UK

Google’s AI overviews are beginning to appear in search queries for a “small slice” of logged-in users in the UK.

Google’s Search Generative Experience has been in testing as a Labs experiment in the U.S. since May 2023. SGE has never been available in the UK.

Why we care. SGE, AI overviews – whatever you call it – could potentially change how people search and the amount of organic traffic your site gets from Google. It’s still unknown how often (if ever) searchers click on the citations in Google’s AI-generated answers.

Future of SGE. Google began testing AI overviews from SGE on a “subset of queries, on a small percentage of search traffic in the U.S.” as Search Engine Land reported on March 22. This seems similar to the UK search traffic test.

Some have speculated SGE could launch widely at Google I/O, but Google has not confirmed a date. And Elizabeth Reid, Google VP, Search, has indicated there likely won’t be a light-switch “moment” when SGE replaces Google Search as we’ve known it.

Could SGE become paid? Meanwhile, Google is considering making AI-powered search features available only to subscribers, according to a Financial Times report. It’s unclear if this is specific to SGE or other AI search features. Perhaps these “premium” features would be part of the Google One paid bundle that includes Gemini.

Essentially, the report indicated “classic” Google Search would remain free. Ads would continue to appear alongside search results even for subscribers. No decision has been made on whether or when it will launch:

“Google said the company was ‘not working on or considering’ an ad-free search experience but that it would ‘continue to build new premium capabilities and services to enhance our subscription offerings across Google’.”

Google considers charging for AI-powered search in big change to business model (subscription required)

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