Google launches an AI that actually works

This is the new Google search


I am sorry for missing last week's newsletter. There are a lot of things going on in my life right now, so I had to focus on those, and there was simply no time to write a newsletter.

Although things are better this week, I am still behind, and today’s newsletter is a day late…

Next week I will be back to the normal schedule.

But for now…

Google has finally revealed its new search experience and released Bard.

In today’s newsletter, I am sharing my thoughts on the “New Google.”

Let’s get started!

The text of this meme was generated by Bard with the following prompt:

Write me a funny text for a meme where Google search is facing Bing, based on the Braveheart film where Mel Gibson's character says "They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom."

It is not the most amazing prompt, but it still came out pretty good, right?

Google’s new search experience with generative AI integrated

Google was finally “allowed” to launch something cool without Microsoft and OpenAI stealing their thunder…

Google search with generative AI integration.

And they launched Bard, which I will get back to shortly.

What does this new search mean for you and me, for business and SEO?

First, it is important to note that the new generative AI function in Google will be available in the USA before they start rolling out in other markets.

For now, you must sign up for their waitlist (shocking, I know…).

Second, a small fact about Google.

Each country/domain (f.ex. or runs its own locally adjusted algorithm.

USA (.com) always runs the newest and “best” algorithm, while smaller markets like Norway (.no) normally have an older algorithm.

If you are based in Norway (or France, Thailand, or wherever), you will search on the local Google, even though you may think you are searching on the international one (.com).

In other words, the new functionality in Google Search will appear in the USA and not affect “the rest of us” for a while.

But mid to long term, search is going to change dramatically.

And for all Americans, or those of us working in the American market, will have to adapt how we do marketing, especially Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I will get back to that shortly.

Search Generative Experience - SGE

This new “experience” is called Search Generative Experience, or just SGE.

I don’t think this is going to be an acronym “regular” folks will be using, but for us SEOs, it might “catch on” (we love those acronyms).

The generated answer will sit high on the search engine results page (SERP).

Sometimes just under the search bar; other times, ads will be first.

Well, to be honest, I think ads will be first “all the time.”

It is what Google’s whole business is based on, after all.

Here is a screenshot of the SGE without ads:

I think one of the reasons why Google has been so hesitant to blast out AI’s left and right, like Microsoft/Bing, is that they are under constant scrutiny (they hold 93-95% of the market after all).

Everything they do will be checked and double-checked by users, hackers, governments, and whatnot.

In contrast, Microsoft and Bing can go crazy, move fast, and break stuff without too much consequence (nobody “cares”, they have only a 4-5% market share).

(The market share of Bing is probably higher now due to their GPT4 integration, but I do not have any numbers on the current market share).

I mention the last few points because Google, in its new search results, does a couple of things that try to mitigate this scrutiny.

  1. They have a warning label saying, “Generative AI is experimental”

  2. They link to/cite sources on the right (those 3 images).

While they do not link to the specific article(s) or paragraphs, they link to the source (the root domain).

The result will most likely comprise several articles or possibly several articles from several websites.

This is a good way to solve that problem, I think.

Also, it keeps the site owners somewhat happy (at least compared to Bing or ChatGPT).

And most importantly, I think it will keep governments happy too.

Below the search result is a “follow-up question” button, allowing you to continue the conversation or search based on your first query.

In other words, Google has added a “chat” style search experience to their search engine.

As a consumer, I can see that this helps and gives me answers quickly.

I can ask more complex questions that traditionally require multiple searches, reading, and comparison.

The AI will do all this for me, saving me time.


How do I know that the answer is the right answer for me?

I guess this is where “learning to prompt” becomes a thing.

You can see why “prompt engineer” is a viable job that pays you well at the moment…

Everyone needs to learn prompting to get the maximum benefit of AI in search (and in general).

Prompt engineering is a topic I will cover in a future newsletter.

What does Google SGE mean for online marketing and selling online?

When we talk about online marketing or internet marketing, we broadly refer to one of two things:

  1. Paid advertising (like Google Ads, Bing Ads, Display Ads, etc.)

  2. Search Engine Optimization - SEO

Although integrating AI into search engines will change how people find information online, Google (or Bing) are making their billions of dollars from selling advertising around the search results.

So obviously, none of them is going to remove the ads.

In their product demo of “the new Google” on Tuesday, Google has shown that they will have ads above the AI search results.

Nothing really changes there, I guess…

If anything, I think Google Ads (and Bing Ads) will have a bright future, albeit I think the prices for ads will go up remarkably.

But what about us SEOs (I am an SEO)?

If I put my SEO hat on for a minute, the new AI search result page is basically a “rich snippet from hell”.

It will keep searchers engaged and keep them on Google instead of leading them to my sites or my client's sites (I fear).

What is a rich snippet?

They are the answers you get at the top of the current search results, such as “direct answers” to your questions (like “What is 334*543” or “What is the time in Tokyo right now”) or PAA (People Also Ask), which are those questions that appear under your answer/snippet (there are many more).

Rich snippets are also called “position zero” search results (in SEO, it is all about getting a webpage to position 1-3 or zero).

1) Rich snippet

2) People Also Ask - PAA

For all of us with websites that we want customers to find, AI will be an annoying distraction we hope our potential customers will scroll past…

Some will, but many will not.

That is my prediction.

Thus, it does not matter if they cite the sources; it is going to be a distraction nonetheless.

On the flip side, SEOs and business owners who utilize SEO for their marketing will be working their asses off to “become a cited source.”

I don’t know; maybe it is a good thing.

For now, we don't know how to optimize for a cited source link.

I am sure some super smart SEO’s out there will figure it out soon enough (I am looking at you, Chiang Mai and Budapest peeps).

In all honesty, I have been nervous about the future of SEO, and I am still, in some regard.

But seeing how Google plans to integrate AI into its search engine makes me more optimistic!

I am still needed 😀

Is AI killing SEO?

Every year as Google evolves, as there are algorithm changes, or Google changes their layouts, introduces featured snippets or other “zero search results,” someone touts “SEO is dead.”

When ChatGPT came out at the end of last year, SEO was dead once again.

This time, however, I was saying the same.

And while SEO is not dead dead, it will be changing in the next few years.

And I think Google Ads will become even more important, but the combo of ads and SEO will still be the killer strategy the winners utilize.

So no, SEO is not dead.

It will change.

But then again, it constantly changes.

It has been changing for the 20 years I have been into SEO.

Of course, the change we see now is a mega shift.

Maybe even more so with AI and content creation, which drives SEO (no content, no SEO).

How does Google AI change your online marketing strategy?

I think the change to SEO will be the same for all search engines, Google or Bing (or the rest of the 1-2-3% that we do not even bother talking about).

One of the big changes is that we will see a drop in traffic to our websites or e-commerce stores.

And traditionally, that would be a problem.

But in the age of AI, maybe it will not be.

Sure, the longer Google or Bing can keep people on their page, the more ads they can serve up, the more money they make, and the less traffic we get to our websites.

However, traffic will ultimately trickle down.

And I believe that the traffic we eventually get to our sites will be of a higher value than before.

Less traffic but higher value.

To talk marketing speak for a second: The visitors you get to your site will be further down the marketing funnel once they arrive at the website. They will be warmer leads and potentially ready to buy your product right away. The “lurkers” will drop off or get distracted by the AI chat.

In other words, the people motivated to buy your product will come to your website, while those who are “just looking” will stay at Google or Bing.

The flip side is that your expensive paid ads will be shown to all the lurkers, but that is another discussion.

So, for now, internet marketing and SEO is not all that dark, and we are not at the end of the world.

Far from it.

But one thing is clear to me…

If your website is shit and not SEO optimized, you will probably die…

Or you will be paying a lot to get a few customers...

Personally, I think backlinks, such as getting mentioned in the media, will be super important (I hope so, it is a service I have been providing for years).

But also videos, especially on Youtube, will be important.

Youtube results will appear in the AI results if relevant - so herein lies a huge opportunity!

I think “regular” SEO and Youtube SEO will move closer to each other.

The online winners will utilize Google Ads, SEO, Youtube, Digital PR, Social Media, and more.

Come to think of it, this is precisely what today’s winners are doing.

So maybe nothing changes after all… 😀

Google Bard is live

Google announced and released their new and improved Google Bard on Tuesday.

It launches in 180 countries.

However, Google Bard is unavailable in the EU.


Privacy concerns…

We saw how ChatGPT got banned in Italy recently over privacy concerns.

And I guess Google is scared shitless to get in trouble over GDPR and privacy concerns in the EU.

The EU has already fined them over €8 billion in recent years.

I am sure Google wants to ensure they have all their ducks in a row before entering the EU.

You can still get access to Bard if you are in the EU.

But you need a hack…

And that hack is the same as always when you need to get around geofencing - use a VPN.

I routed my VPN to appear that I was in the UK (not part of the EU anymore), and voila, I had access to Bard.

This is what it looks like

This is a welcoming change for those who don’t like dark mode.

But if you prefer the dark theme similar to ChatGPT, all you have to do is toggle the little icon in the left-hand corner.

From here, you just do the same stuff you do in ChatGPT.

Ask it questions, ask follow-ups, do fancy prompting, etc.

In short, Bard appears to do exactly the same as ChatGPT.

It will have apps too.

Google demonstrated how they can use other generative AI tools, like Adobe Firefly, to generate images via an app.

What makes Bard different from ChatGPT?

It does not make sense to go deeper into what Bard can do.

It is basically Google’s alternative to ChatGPT, and it does precisely the same stuff.

However, what we do have now, is an understanding of where this is going.

As usual, Google and Microsoft/Bing will be head-to-head fighting for marketing share.

If one launches something new, the other will copy it swiftly.

Microsoft managed to move insanely fast at the beginning of this new AI wave, and I am sure they stole a sizeable market share from Google.

And that is impressive!

And they will probably continue.

Especially since they will have ChatGPT functionality integrated into all their products.

People who use a PC will have fewer incentives to go to/use Google.

But I do not think Bing, Microsoft, or ChatGPT will crush Google - or kill them.

I have said from day one, do not underestimate Google.

And here it is…

Google is still the Goliat in search and will continue to have a dominant position.

But over time, they will lose some market share simply due to Microsoft's dominant position in enterprise with their Microsoft 365 suite of tools.

Speaking of which…

Google’s AI in other places

Google also announced that they will add their generative AI component to Gmail.

Again, exactly the same as Microsoft is doing with Outlook.

A while back, I spoke about how Google will add AI functionality to Google Workspace, their free alternative to Microsoft 365.

It is happening now.

And yet again, the two giants go head-to-head and release similar functionality in all their tools and services.

How it all ends, I have no idea.

However, I do think that Microsoft will come out on top in terms of taking market share from Google.

I think Microsoft have “finally” found the hack that enables them to steal food from Google’s table.

And when they do, how will Google respond?

What will Google do to avoid the company shrinking?

What other industries might they enter to secure growth for Alphabet, their mothership?

And what about the other players?

Facebook is still lurking in the shadow.

The same goes for Apple.

And I have not even touched upon the open source community yet…

The war of the tech giants is far from over; it has barely started!

We all have first-row seats watching how this once-in-a-lifetime revolution plays out.

Ending notes

After 5-6 months of generative AI madness, we are finally starting to see and understand some of the changes AI will bring to our work and businesses.

Very soon, as in months, all this AI is integrated into the tools we use daily.

Seeing Google’s approach to AI in search gave me a bit of a positive boost, to be honest.

SEO/online marketing is not dead! 😀

Sure, that pesky generative AI block before the search results will affect every business online, but at least Google will link to sources.

Now marketers have a new target to optimize for: “Get your business or client to show up in the generative AI box and get linked as a source.”


That’s all for today!

What do you think?

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of discoverability online?

Do you think Google is still king or is Bing and ChatGPT the killer that dethrone Google?

Hit reply and let me know!


If you have any questions about AI or any feedback, just hit reply or tweet me @thomassorheim 

What do you call a giant who is always getting into fights??




A trouble giant!

(Bard created today’s dad joke)

This is not the end. It is where the fun begins!


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