Google’s efforts in AI haven’t always gone smoothly, but it hasn’t taken long to see a little more maturity in these projects, and with it comes more functionality and polish. Google is highlighting some of the latest enhancements that have been made to its generative AI search results, including both new features and enhanced performance.
The list begins with an expansion of the core AI-powered overviews to include images and video within the text, essentially merging the experience of multiple search modes into a single block. Google intends to deliver images to help illustrate the topics of an AI result, like giving context to animals or objects named in the results. Likewise, video results will be provided for results where a demonstration would benefit from motion rather than a static image.
These are obviously not unfamiliar features to anybody that regularly uses Google for search, but this step represents growth for the AI capabilities and may produce different results than Google’s usual image and video search modes normally would. Google plans to roll out photo and video embeds over the next week, though it will still only appear for those that have joined the Labs project for generative AI results in Search.
Giving context to results provided by AI has been a priority for Google since the beginning, and this has largely been resolved by including source links to the original source or corroborating sites where information had been printed. However, to give users more context and an ability to judge the timeliness of the results, Google is now incorporating publishing dates next to links so it’s easier to gauge how old information is, and if it’s still relevant.
Finally, Google is taking a bit of a victory lap after improving the performance of AI overviews. Recent changes have cut the generation time in half, which translates to faster delivery to users. Of course, this likely also equates to reducing server costs by about the same amount, and making it easier to scale this out to more users.
After having the generative AI search lab enabled for the last few months, I can’t say that I’ve noticed or had any problems with slow delivery. It’s generally always pretty fast, and didn’t notice a speed increase. However, I think it would improve the experience immensely if the regular search results didn’t jump down the page once the AI results are delivered and displayed. Nevertheless, it’s easy to see the results from efforts within Google to refine the experience with AI tools.