Google Search Generative Experience Rollout Delayed

What is the latest update on Google's Search Generative Experience?

When Google first announced Search Generative Experience (SGE) in 2023, probably half of SEO practicioners panicked and half just shrugged. It was reportedly planned that it will be rolled out in 2024 but it seems like SGE has been delayed indefinitely.

The Keyword, Google's own blog for their products, just released a blog post about New ways to search in 2024. It provides details about some of the planned enhancements for search, which would most likely cause another "SEO is dead" headline spree this year.

New ways to search for smartphones?

Google unveiled "circle" to search which would allow a user to literally scribble or circle images, text, and even videos if they want more information about something.

Multisearch is also getting an upgrade. Using the Google Lens app, you are already able to take a picture of something you might want to search information for. Now, it can get additional information from SGE itself.

Speaking of SGE, was there an announcement that it was delayed? Not explicitly but look at this snippet.

SGE to remain in Labs?

"We'll continue to offer SGE in Labs as a testbed for bold new ideas"

It was initially feared by SEO experts across the globe that SGE will be rolled out early 2024. However, this pseudo-announcement suggests that SGE will remain in Google Labs for the foreseeable future.

Add that to the fact that SGE's "experiment" period was initially going to end in December 2023 but that date has also disappeared from Labs. This suggests that SGE will most likely be delayed in rolling out globally.

What is SGE anyway?

If you've been in the SEO industry for quite some time now, you'll eventually encounter featured or rich snippets. These are the snippets that appear for some type of queries that are usually answerable immediately.

An example of a featured snippet which provides a list of answers

Now imagine featured snippets loading a bit more slowly but on steroids.

SGE version of the same query

SGE provides more information most of the time. It even allows users to ask a follow up question or suggest potential people also ask (PAA) questions. As you can see, it takes up a lot of the screen real estate. The first actual clickable links are placed on the right side of the results. The first true "organic" results can be found under this SGE snippet, which takes up about 25% of the screen.

This is Google's push for integrating generative AI into Google Search. AI has been a hot topic for the past few months and there have been a lot of chatter around how gen AI could change SEO.

There are still a lot of unknown variables here. In the Philippines, SGE is also available via Labs but I have personally not seen anyone else using it more compared to the normal search. It does introduce another point of friction for users.

Do SEOs still need to be worried about SGE? It depends, but mostly yes. If Google does perfect SGE to the point that it is as seamless as how featured snippets would already appear, then it could potentially make more zero-click searches in the following years.

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