Google is opening its AI-powered search experience to teens. In addition, the company’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is adding new context pages to shed light on generated responses and individual web links within answers.
The company is opening its search-based AI tool to US teenagers between 13 and 17. Google says it received “particularly positive feedback” from 18- to 24-year-olds who tested SGE, which influenced its decision. (Younger people being more open to AI isn’t exactly a shock, given older adults’ tendency to be more suspicious of new technologies.) SGE has been available as part of Google Search Labs since late May.
Google says it has added safeguards to prevent inappropriate or harmful content based on its research with experts in teen development. “For example, we’ve put stronger guardrails in place for outputs related to illegal or age-gated substances or bullying, among other issues,” the company wrote on Thursday. Google says it will continue to gather feedback and work with specialists to fine-tune SGE for teens.
Starting today, the company is also adding an “About this result” tool to SGE responses, helping users understand how the AI settled on its answers. Soon, it will also produce “About this result” responses for individual URLs within AI-generated answers “so people can understand more about the web pages that back up the information in AI-powered overviews.”
To help newcomers understand generative AI, Google has published an AI Literacy Guide, serving as a welcome manual to SGE and other AI projects like Bard. It includes tips, FAQs and discussions about its capabilities and limitations.
Finally, Google says it’s making “targeted improvements” to AI-powered results that are false or offensive. It’s rolling out an update to train the AI model to better detect “hallucinations” or inappropriate content. (Chatbots spreading misinformation has been an issue from the get-go.) The company is also working on using large language models to “critique” their first draft responses and rewrite them with quality and safety in mind.
“Generative AI can help younger people ask questions they couldn’t typically get answered by a search engine and pose follow-up questions to help them dig deeper,” the company wrote. “As we introduce this new technology to teens, we want to strike the right balance in creating opportunities for them to benefit from all it has to offer, while also prioritizing safety and meeting their developmental needs.”