Google is bringing its Search Generative Experience (SGE) to more than 120 new countries, including Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Indonesia, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, according to a blog post from Google’s Hema Budaraju. SGE will also support four new languages, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and Indonesian, which add to its current support for English, Hindi, and Japanese.
The expansion means that a lot more people can choose to mess around with SGE. You’ll still need to jump through some hoops to try it: you have to opt in via Google’s Search Labs program, and once you have, you can only use SGE on Chrome on desktop or the Google app on Android and iOS. (In the newly added countries, SGE is accessible on Chrome on desktop beginning Wednesday and will be available in the Google app “over the coming week,” according to Budaraju’s blog.)
In an interview, Budaraju declined to share if or when SGE might be available in more browsers. However, she did say that “in the future, we probably will have to come back to you.”
Interestingly, on my Search Labs page, there are notes that say that SGE and SGE while browsing experiments end in December 2023. I asked Google about it. “Our goal with this phase of SGE is to get feedback and iterate on the experience alongside our users,” Google spokesperson Craig Ewer said in a statement to The Verge. “We don’t have anything further to share on future plans.”
That doesn’t exactly clear things up. But given this major expansion and CEO Sundar Pichai’s previous statement that SGE will eventually be “just how search works,” I doubt that SGE is going away anytime soon.
Google’s new translation feature that asks about multiple meanings.
Google is also adding a handful of new features to SGE.
- The company is testing a new “ask a follow up” text box that appears right on the SGE results page, meaning you won’t have to go to SGE’s separate conversational window to ask. This will begin to roll out “over the coming weeks,” first in English in the US, according to Budaraju’s blog.
- When asking for translations, Search can now prompt you to clarify a single word that may have multiple meanings (“tie,” for example). This feature will be available for English-to-Spanish translations sometime “soon” in the US, with more countries and languages down the line, Budaraju writes, though you’ll have to be signed up to SGE through Search Labs to get it.
- In SGE search results, Google will let you hover over certain coding and health terms to learn more about them, which adds to the previously announced ability to hover over certain science, economic, and history terms. This feature is rolling out in English in the US “over the next month,” with “more countries and languages expected to follow soon.”
SGE results, when they’re good, answer your queries without requiring you to click out to other sources, which is a pretty fundamental shift to search. While Budaraju didn’t have any specific metrics to share about whether SGE results have changed click-through rates from search results to other sources, Google has already updated SGE to improve how it surfaces and contextualizes links.