Google Tests Chatbot-Style Google Desktop Search Results. Race of AI Dominance is On.

Published: February 02, 2023

min read

Google has reportedly begun testing a new desktop search page design that incorporates chat technology.

Following the launch of and reaction to ChatGPT in December, Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly issued a "code red," recognising that the technology posed an immediate and significant threat to Google's search business. Google executives reportedly summoned Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin for a series of meetings to discuss the company's AI product strategy.

In one version of Google's search results, the company replaced the iconic "I'm Feeling Lucky" button under the search bar with five prompts for potential questions. A "small chat logo" also appeared at the right end of the search bar, according to the report.

Google’s alternate SERP appears to push Google's organic search results much lower on the page.

We believe that AI is a foundational and transformative technology that is extremely beneficial to individuals, businesses, and communities, and as our AI Principles outline, we must consider the broader societal implications of these innovations. We are continuing to test our AI technology internally to ensure that it is useful and safe, and we hope to share more experiences with the public in the near future.

Google spokesperson

According to CNBC, the new SERP will look like this:

When a question is typed into the search bar, a gray bubble appears directly beneath the bar, providing more human-like responses than standard search results. The page then suggests several follow-up questions related to the first one. It then displays typical search results, such as links and headlines.

Google is also testing a chatbot called "Apprentice Bard," which allows employees to ask questions and receive detailed answers in a manner similar to ChatGPT.

How far will the new changes be challenging for marketers?

Of late, ChatGPT has set the internet on fire. Because it is easily accessible to the general public, the chatbot continues to generate a lot of buzz online. Microsoft has already started working on adding ChatGPT features to Bing search. It even accelerates the race for AI supremacy in industry.

We believe Google’s new search engine design with chatbot features will give some entirely new experiences to users and businesses.

For Users:

The conversational and precise nature of responses always appeal more to users. Hence, with the chatbot features on the search bar, users may be able to get intuitive and condensed answers in a human-like way. Which, users will possibly find easier and more helpful. Needless to say, Google has a massive database with up-to-date information, whereas chatbot's knowledge is limited to world events prior to 2021. As a result, Google's move on this AI feature appears to be significant and appealing to users.

For Businesses:

SEO is vital for organic marketing. The changes in the SERP (search engine results page) with the AI feature have the potential to reshape the way SEO is approached.

The reason is that some SERP features on Google are organic. They can be influenced by SEO. These include featured snippets and related questions (a.k.a. "People Also Ask" boxes). Now, as per reports, the chatbot-style Google desktop search results will replace the snippets and PAA with "Gray bubble" and "Follow-up questions" As a result, will it affect the possibility for marketers to increase the visibility of the website? Possibly yes.

Because, basically, SERPs determine how the website appears on Google’s first page. Though it is not easy, earning featured snippets means greater visibility. It could potentially impact businesses with the amount of traffic and organic CTR they could get. On the other hand, the PAA question box is one of the prominent features used by marketers to optimize their page ranking in search results. Aside from getting websites onto the first page of Google, it also assists brands in gathering valuable information about what people want.

In a nutshell, we believe chatbot-style Google desktop search results are not a huge shift from the current Google desktop design. However, for marketers, it will most likely reduce their options for improving visibility on Google search results pages through SEO. And it will necessitate a change in the way marketers approach SERP optimization.


Bill Walker

Bill is a marketing strategist who believes in the power of storytelling. He's known for his creativity, wit, and ability to connect with audiences across all channels. When he's not crafting marketing campaigns, you can find him hiking in the mountains or reading a good book.


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