Google AI Overviews is one of the latest announcements and product updates from the search engine giant this year.


Google held its annual I/O conference recently and claims to have announced 100 new features and product announcements.


This spans across many of their key products such as Gemini, Search, Workspace (including Gmail, Docs, Drive, etc.) computer chips, image generation models, Photos, and the list goes on.

google io conference 2024


You can read more about all of these in their "100 things we announced at I/O 2024" blog post.


In this article, we will focus more on the changes coming to Search.


More specifically, we're going to take a closer look at Google AI Overviews and what this means for SEOs and business owners.


What are Google AI Overviews?


Google AI Overviews are an improvement on what used to be called Search Generative Experience (SGE). AI Overviews present information in a more user-friendly way, with AI-generated summaries appearing at the top of search results.


For instance, if you search for the key phrase "how does a transformer work", then you'll get an AI-generated answer explaining the intricacies of transformers.

google ai overviews example


Google also generates a list of sub-topics that you can choose from at the top of the AI Overview. For instance, if I click on "Step by step", Google will explain the entire process for me.

how does a transformer word step by step


These summaries provide a quick grasp of the topic, making complex subjects easier to understand.


With Google AI Overviews, users can now delve into complex topics without leaving the initial search page. This builds upon the Search Generative Experience (SGE) Google introduced earlier, further highlighting the potential of AI in search.


In fact, SGE was just an experiment, but has now morphed into a feature that all search engine users will have access to. Google announced that AI Overviews will be rolled out to all users in the US, with more countries expected soon.


This new feature has significant implications for how we search the web, how we create content, and how we approach digital marketing.


So then, what are these big changes and how is AI Overviews different from the SGE experiment?


What's Changing with Google AI Overviews?

Summarize or Dive Deep on Topics

AI Overviews will soon offer users the ability to fine-tune the way in which information is presented. This means you can choose to simplify the language for easier understanding, or delve deeper with additional details.

simplify or give more detail


Imagine you're just starting to explore a new subject, or trying to explain something complex to your child.


AI Overviews will adapt to your needs, making information accessible to everyone. This feature hasn't been rolled out yet, but Google says its coming soon to Search Labs, for English queries in the US.

One Search for All Your Questions

AI Overviews features Gemini's new multi-reasoning capabilities which means you'll be able to ask even more complex questions in one shot without having to perform multiple searches.


Imagine you're planning a weekend getaway with your partner who loves hiking and you're more of a museum enthusiast. Traditionally, you might do two separate searches for "best hiking trails near Seattle" and "museums near Seattle".



With AI Overviews' multi-step reasoning, you can ask a single, comprehensive question like, "Find a weekend getaway destination within a 4-hour drive from Seattle, with great hiking trails and interesting museums for different interests."


Instead of a list of links, AI Overviews would use its understanding of your question and location to provide a more helpful response. This might include:


  • A shortlist of charming towns or national parks within driving distance.
  • Information on nearby hiking trails with difficulty levels and scenic highlights.
  • Recommendations for museums catering to different interests, perhaps including virtual tours or special exhibits.
  • Links to resources for planning your trip, like estimated travel time and accommodation options.


Again, Google hasn't been clear on when this feature will officially launch.

Take Visual Search to a New Level

Often, our questions involve things we see in the real world, like objects in motion.


AI Overviews will soon support visual search. This means you can ask questions directly related to a video or picture that you have. You'll also be able to turn on your camera and use Search to find more information on whatever you see.


Ever stumble upon an interesting plant while hiking or gardening, but have no idea what it is? Describing its features through text can be tricky. With AI Overviews' video search, simply record a short clip of the plant.


This could include close-ups of its leaves, flowers (if present), and overall growth pattern. AI Overviews, using its advanced video understanding capabilities, will analyze the footage and provide an overview with:


  • The most likely plant species based on its visual characteristics.
  • Links to detailed information about that plant, including its care requirements and potential toxicity (especially helpful for pet owners!).
  • Suggestions for gardening forums or plant identification apps for further exploration.

Your Own Personal AI Powered Search Assistant

With AI Overviews, Search can be used as your own personal planning assistant. Soon, Search will offer built-in planning tools to help you tackle anything from meals to vacations.


Birthdays can be exciting, but also overwhelming to plan. With Search's planning capabilities, simply search for something like "plan a fun birthday party for a 7-year-old at home."


AI Overviews will then analyze your request and provide you with a customized party plan breakdown. This might include:


  • Theme suggestions: From pirates to superheroes, Search will suggest age-appropriate themes based on your child's interests.
  • Activity ideas: It can even propose party games, craft projects, or even science experiments that are engaging and educational.
  • Recipe recommendations: Whether you need ideas for a birthday cake or fun party snacks, Search will offer a variety of options based on dietary restrictions or preferences.
  • Decoration inspiration: Feeling stuck on decorating? Search can provide links to DIY decorations or party supply stores.


How Marketers Need to Adapt for AI Overviews


The recent launch of Google's AI Overviews marks a significant change in how people interact with and use search engines. We've seen hints of this shift with the SGE experiments, but now the impact is real and immediate.


So, how can you adapt and rank in these AI Overviews? Generative Engine Optimization (GEO) might be the key.


GEO represents a major shift in SEO practices, aligning them with the capabilities of AI search engines like Google's AI Overviews and Microsoft's Bing Chat. GEO tailors traditional SEO strategies for the AI era by optimizing content for these generative engines.


This new approach is vital for content creators who want to succeed in a search landscape increasingly dominated by AI. Understanding and implementing GEO strategies can significantly improve content visibility within these new environments.


Some of the key concepts of GEO are:



Remember, AI search engines don't just fetch information, they create rich, integrated responses that can satisfy user queries directly. This could potentially bypass the need to click through to websites altogether.


We anticipate up to a 30% decrease in organic traffic for some of our client's sites, especially where AI-generated overviews are prominent, as they tend to push down regular search results​​.


- James Ewen, founder at SEOtagg

james ewen


Wrapping Up


AI Overviews pave the road for a new era in Google Search. For users, the integration of AI into Search will likely result in a better user experience, giving them faster and more comprehensive information.


The core concept of AI Overviews is that Google will piece together all of the most relevant information about the main topic as well as any relevant sub-topics.


As for marketers, we're left with figuring out how to navigate this new era of AI and Search.


In my opinion, there is bound to be some disruption, but this also creates new opportunities for the curious-minded marketers to adapt their strategies to gain benefit from AI Overviews.