Stretched search bar for SGE powered search

The Winning Architecture of Search Generative Experience

One single, discrete feature of Search Generative Experience that will define the incorporation Generative AI in search engines

Ole Olesen-Bagneux
Published in
4 min readMay 24, 2024


On May 10th Elizabeth Reid VP of Search, announced Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE).[1] This is Google’s vision of deep incorporation of Generative AI (GenAI) into their search engine for the web. There is reason to believe that Google has defined the winning architecture for the incorporation of GenAI in search, and the reason is surprisingly simple — I explain it below.[2]

The separated user interface for conversational search

On February 7th 2023, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella declared that “it’s a new day for search”.[3] The statement was made in the light of Microsoft joining forces with OpenAI to incorporate Generative AI powered chat as a new search capability for searching the web. This became known as conversational search.

Since Nadella’s statement, tech giants have experimented on how to create a separated portal for conversational search, because this kind of search is longer and more detailed, than the shorter, more simple statements written in the search bar of traditional search engines.

Let’s consider a family going on a trip. They want to know the answer to this question:

What’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, bryce canyon or arches?

The separated user interface would make you reflect that you’re about to perform a conversational search, and accordingly engage in a conversation in a chatbot, outside of the search bar, for example like this:

The separated user interface for conversational search

Whilst this clearly flash a feature powered by GenAI, the question is, if users are willing to begin their search in a distinctly separate universe, by entering a question outside of the search bar, in a conversation bubble, maybe even in another tab or window, than the search bar itself.

Google seems convinced users won’t find such a separation useful. Therefore, the simple, yet powerful answer from Google is that SGE begins not outside, but directly in the search bar.

The relatively long question in the search bar

To Google, the complexity of conversational search is not something that the end user should think about up front. Users will not ask themselves: Am I performing a conversational search — or a shorter search? before they begin searching, and then subsequently decide on which search entry to use: Either the search bar or the conversation bubbles.

Instead, Google is doing one minor, but brilliant adjustment to its search engine. They are stretching the search bar:

The relatively long question in the search bar

This makes it possible to write relatively long questions inside the search bar, without loosing the context of what you are typing, as in the case of our question:

What’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, bryce canyon or arches?

Which is exactly the question that Google used in their first demo of SGE, keeping the search bar as the main entry to all types of searches. The SGE will provide a deep context answer on top of the search results, and then, afterwards, the user can filter the search into images, videos, and obviously, a prolonged SGE that gives the user the option of contining the conversation on the initial question.


There is reason to believe that Google has defined the winning architecture for the incorporation of GenAI in search with the notion of Search Generative Experience.

With the introduction of GenAI to search the web, chatbots emerged as an alternative to the search bar itself. This created a reality where the end users were forced to reflect on the nature of their search prior to performing the search.

It is not realistic to assume that users will find it natural or functional to make a distinction between the nature of their search prior to performing them, quite the contrary, they will perform that distinction whitout thinking about it, when searching, not before searching. Users will blend, merge and extract search results from conversation, pictures, links and likes in an unpredictable manner that needs one entry, and one entry only:

The search bar.

What’s next

In upcoming articles, I will discuss:

  1. The content concern — will users stop making content because SGE is copying it? CEO of Google Sundar Pichai has already been challenged on this topic. [4]
  2. What will SGE mean for Generative AI powered search features in data catalogs?

Stay tuned!

[1] Google I/O, May 10th 2024: Google’s first demo of Search Generative Experience. Also, for a deeper read, check out this post on Google’s blog: Generative AI in Search: Let Google do the searching for you

[2] In this article, I use the data catalog from the fictitious company Hugin & Munin to display search examples — the mechanics at play are similar to search engines for the web. Hugin & Munin is my standard reference, see: O. Olesen-Bagneux, The Enterprise Data Catalog (2023), O’Reilly

[3] NPR, Feb 7th, 2023: Microsoft revamps Bing search engine to use artificial intelligence

[4] Decoder Podcast, May 20th 2024: Google’s Sundar Pichai on AI-powered search and the future of the web



Ole Olesen-Bagneux
Analyst’s corner

I write about data & technology from a Library- and Information Science perspective. I'm also at