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Google I/O 2024 unveils AI Overviews

It’s that time of year again. At this year’s Google I/O conference, the search giant announced a tonne of advanced Generative AI features, which are set to make waves in the world of SEO and content marketing.

‘Google Search is Generative AI at the scale of human curiosity, and it’s our most exciting chapter of search yet,’ says Google’s Sundar Pichai.

The roll-out of Google’s SGE (Search Generative Experience) continues, with a raft of AI-based developments announced. Google is doubling down on its inclusion of Generative A.I. in its search pages, but this time taking it further: unveiling AI Overviews, Project Astra, and Google Veo. 

Here we’ll take you through some of the key announcements from the conference.

Gemini shakes up Generative AI

Google is in its ‘Gemini era’. Formerly known as Bard, Gemini is Google’s answer to ChatGPT; its own Generative AI model. 

It was officially unveiled at last year’s Google I/O conference, but now it’s set to shake things up even further, with 2 billion of Google’s user products using Gemini. 

As part of the update, Gemini will be more ‘context-aware’ and use multi-step reasoning to answer complex questions. You’ll be able to ask it a multi-step question, and Gemini will work through it, along with all your sub-questions, then give you an answer in seconds. 

Introducing AI Overviews

Gemini will continue to improve search with AI Overviews, possibly the biggest unveiling from Google I/O. 

AI Overviews is the one that has everybody talking. Similar to a Featured Snippet, AI Overviews will answer your question but also provide you with an overview of a topic by generating an answer from a variety of sources. It will then provide links to the sources so you can read further, and give you the option to ‘simplify’ the text or ‘break it down’ further. 

Google’s Head of SGE, Hema Budaraju, says AI Overviews will have a higher click-through rate than traditional web results.

It will also make use of Gemini’s multi-step reasoning to answer complex questions, even plan trips. This feature will be unveiled in Australia and New Zealand later this year.

Project Astra

Taking things further, Gemini will also be able to analyse live video and audio with Project Astra, Google DeepMind’s advanced generative AI agent. 

Gemini says Project Astra will ‘understand and respond to the complex and dynamic world just like people do – and take in and remember what it sees and hears to understand context and take action.’

With its impressive image-processing capabilities, the update will allow you to take a video of something, then ask Google a question about it. It could even help you find your glasses or keys? (see video). Holy moly.

As an extension of this, it looks as though Google will be incorporating Project Astra into its Google Glasses. The future is certainly within reach. Watch this space.

Google Veo

Using Generative AI, Google Veo will be able to generate high-quality, 1080p video clips based on the prompts you give it.

‘We’ve made incredible progress on video,’ said Demis Hassabis from Google DeepMind. ‘We’re exploring features like storyboarding and generating longer scenes to see what Veo can do.’

Veo will be able to generate time lapses and footage of landscapes, even make edits and adjustments.

Google Photos

Google is also introducing a feature called Ask Photos, its ‘newest experimental feature.’ With Ask Photos, you can ask Google to find a specific photo you’ve taken (for example, your kids’ swimming lessons). Then Google will analyse your photo library and assemble a collation of related photos so you can see a collage of your kids’ progress. Cool, huh?

You can watch more of the key takeaways in Google’s rundown of the conference. Stay tuned!

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