So if you can’t beat them, join them. According to a The Wall Street Journal report, the search giant is planning to unveil changes to how its core product works, and we could see those changes as soon as this Wednesday at Google I/O 2023.
According to the report, Google is potentially switching from a traditional search engine results page — the long list of links you’re used to seeing — to a new format that is designed to be “visual, snackable, personal, and human.” This new format will instead display AI chatbot conversations, short videos and social-media posts.
This signifies a massive change for Google, and a concession that traditional search is dead. Google is now shifting its focus towards a younger audience according to the WSJ, and plans to support content creators with its search tools rather than websites.
And this shift is not only to combat the rise of AI chatbots such as ChatGPT and Bing AI but to combat the rise of short-form video sites such as TikTok as well. Internet users are reportedly turning to other apps to find all sorts of information. Whether it’s finding life hacks on TikTok or your next favorite restaurant on Instagram, people are using Google Search less and less. According to the WSJ, Google had already seen this as a threat to its search business prior to the AI revolution that took off late last year, but the rise of AI has apparently accelerated its plans.
One other big change? Your first search query might not be your only one. According to the report, users could need to ask follow-up questions to their initial prompt or swipe through a TikTok-like feed to get the answer they're looking for. The aim is to respond to questions that aren’t easily answered. That fits with Google’s reported mantra for this new project, “More than answers, we’ll help you when there’s no right answer.”
If this new search results page sounds a bit familiar to you, there’s a good reason. Microsoft Bing is currently rolling out similar features to Google’s rumored search revamp. In particular, Bing has already started to integrate Bing Chat into its search results page, so that could give you a preview of what to expect from Google.
We probably won’t have to wait long to see the official version though. According to the Wall Street Journal, I/O could see at least a partial unveiling of Project Magi — Google’s internal codename for its next-generation search engine. The company reportedly has already conducted a fair amount of internal testing ahead of a rumored announcement at I/O. So make sure to follow along with all our I/O 2023 coverage so you don’t miss a thing.