Google still has not announced a launch date for SGE


Google has not announced a date for when it will fully launch the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE). We know Google has begun testing SGE in the wild with a small subset of U.S. searchers, in fact, that seemed to have gone live today.

But Google has not yet announced when SGE and AI overviews will rollout to all searchers in the U.S. and other regions.

Google I/O on May 14. There are some rumors circulating that Google may launch SGE, at least in the U.S. and some other regions, on May 14, during the Google I/O keynote address while Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai is on stage.

I mean, it makes sense to launch SGE at I/O – it is Google’s largest and most notable event of the year.

But again, Google has not told me on or off the record that SGE will ever fully go live, let alone, that it would launch on a specific date. In fact, we had to squash some rumors about this before. Google did once have a deadline of December 2023, but Google removed that deadline and did not launch SGE.

How might SGE launch. If Google does launch SGE in the near future, I think it will be launched in a way that does not disrupt their search ads. I think that Google would launch AI overviews on search results that generally do not contain any ads.

In fact, Google has said the majority of queries people do each day do not show search ads. And generally, AI answers are better for longer tail queries that may not have ads anyway.

Google has to be concerned with how the SGE interface will impact clicks on search ads, its number one revenue-generating source. So if Google launched SGE but didn’t show them for search results with ads on them, that would solve that revenue problem.

Google also will likely try not to show AI overviews for queries that are political or generally sensitive in nature.

Right now, there are plenty of examples of where the AI answers in SGE just look really bad. It reminds me of when Google launched featured snippets, there were plenty of embarrassing examples to point out.

So if Google can figure out a way to limit AI overviews and not show them for those categories, Google can technically launch it.

Will users be able to opt out. Right now, SGE is a Labs experiment that you can toggle on and off to opt out. But now that SGE is being tested in the wild, those who are in that test group have no way to opt out.

I spotted complaints today, as Google just started rolling out the SGE live tests, where users want to opt out but cannot.

Why we care. Many in our industry are on edge about SGE launching. Those who buy ads in the Google search results are worried how it might impact clicks and conversions. Those who publish content are also worried how traffic from Google organic search might differ with the launch. And content producers are worried that Google will take their content, serve the answer to the searcher and not benefit with a single impression on their site.

Google has said that they continue to prioritize approaches that send valuable traffic to publishers. Google has also said they are showing more links to sites with SGE in Search than before, creating new opportunities for content to be discovered. But are searchers clicking on those links? We don’t know.

Stay tuned. We’ll let you know more about when SGE will launch, and where, and how, as soon as we know.


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