Google Reportedly Plans Major Search Overhaul With Focus On AI And Videos

Google is reportedly prepping to make its search engine more "visual, snackable, personal, and human," a direction that would mark fewer "blue links" for websites and lean more toward short video and social media content relevant to the search query. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is planning to announce new features built around AI that would make the whole process more conversational and prompt users to ask follow-up questions so that they can find the exact content they are looking for.

Users might be presented with more visual content, such as TikTok videos and other social media content, in response to younger internet users who are shifting away from traditional website formats and more in the direction of apps like TikTok and Instagram. The changes are currently in development under a project called Magi and will reportedly be announced at the upcoming I/O developers conference, where the company is also expected to reveal new hardware such as the Pixel Fold.

On the other end of the competition, Microsoft has kept pushing AI into its Edge browser and the Bing search engine. The reimagined experience has received a warm reception from users, prompting Microsoft to remove the waitlist system for Bing so that its tech is accessible to all enthusiasts without any hassles. Google's search experience, on the other hand, has been fundamentally stagnant in terms of remarkable shifts, especially in the age of generative AI — although it looks like Google is eager to change that.

Be good or be quick moment for Google

Interestingly, this isn't the first time we've heard about Magi. Last month, internal documents accessed by The New York Times mentioned that Google is trying to redefine search in such a way that it offers a more personalized experience. The company is baking AI into its bread-and-butter search system in such a manner that it continuously learns from the search pattern and preferences of the user, evolving to best suit their needs.

Key features are reportedly said to be already under test among employees, with public testing plans reportedly destined towards the end of the year. Google's AI-fueled boost to search is well-timed but seemingly a tad desperate. Microsoft has already integrated OpenAI's GPT-4, the inherent tech behind ChatGPT, into its Bing search engine and is slowly integrating it into its Office suite of productivity tools.

Google's answer to ChatGPT, Bard, hasn't had a perfect journey so far, thanks in no part to public flubs with inaccuracy and AI hallucinations. However, it appears that the company wants to learn as it moves ahead instead of waiting to perfect the formula and losing the race while doing so. Previous reports have documented a frantic rush at Google to develop its own public-facing AI products that can catalyze the same kind of disruption as OpenAI's ChatGPT, but only time will tell if Magi can help Google close the gap.