Google is taking a page from Microsoft’s Bing/Edge playbook and adding an AI-powered summarization tool to Chrome.
The feature is an extension of Google’s ‘Search Generative Experience’ (SGE) dubbed ‘SGE while browsing.’ It’s accessible through Google’s ongoing Search Labs feature, which lets users try out upcoming AI-powered Search features. However, it’s worth noting Search Labs is limited to English in the U.S. only for now, so Canadians won’t be able to try out the feature yet.
Google says SGE while browsing is rolling out now to people who already opted into SGE and will be available first on Android and iOS through the Google app and later via Chrome on desktop.
Users can access the feature by tapping a button at the bottom of the screen. SGE while browsing will then generate “key points” from the page users are looking at. Google says the feature works “only on articles that are freely available to the public on the web” and won’t work for paywalled content.
Microsoft has offered a similar capability through its Edge browser using Bing Chat, which is powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4, for quite a while now. When browsing an article in Edge, you can open the Bing Chat sidebar and ask it to generate a summary, which surfaces key points from the text.
In my time trying out various AI-powered chatbots, summarizing articles is one of the few somewhat useful tools offered, though it’s tough to wholly rely on it. Like most things with generative AI, summaries are prone to errors and inaccuracy — Google’s new SGE while browsing feature even includes a warning above the summary that “info quality may vary.”