Google has announced the expansion of its generative AI-powered search engine, known as the Search Generative Experience (SGE), to international markets beyond the US. This experimental software is set to be introduced in India and Japan, allowing Google to assess its performance on a larger scale and in diverse languages.

The SGE represents a testing ground for a potential future where Google Search integrates with a conversational AI chatbot interface. In India, the application will offer support for both Hindi and English languages, along with voice search and audio responses. Users in Japan and India will have the option to opt into using the SGE feature.

In tandem with the global expansion, Google has made enhancements to the way web page links are presented in generative AI responses. The company explained that these responses will now feature accompanying arrows indicating drop-down menus. Upon clicking these arrows, users will be able to view the sources from which the search engine extracted its information.

Early feedback from users of the SGE has been positive. Hema Budaraju, senior director of product management for Search, noted that users aged 18 to 24 are particularly satisfied with the ability to ask follow-up questions to their initial queries. This group of users appreciates the generative AI’s capacity to assist them in quickly finding relevant information through more conversational queries.

Budaraju emphasized that users are still encountering advertisements either above or below the prominent SGE box on the screen. Considering Google’s heavy reliance on ad revenue, this reassurance seeks to address concerns that the integration of SGE might negatively impact the company’s advertising business.

Notably, Google isn’t the sole player in the generative AI-powered search engine domain. Microsoft (MSFT) has already introduced its own generative AI-enhanced version of Bing search, providing it with a considerable lead over Google’s ongoing testing of SGE.

This competitive dynamic has prompted Microsoft to focus on capturing market share from Google. The company has been progressively incorporating generative AI capabilities into both consumer and enterprise products, including its Microsoft 365 productivity suite. In response, Google unveiled Duet AI in Workspace and Duet AI in Google Cloud, priced at $30 per month per user, directly competing with Microsoft’s $30 pricing for Microsoft 365 Copilot.

As the rivalry between these tech giants continues, the future of AI in search engines remains a point of contention. Microsoft’s proactive approach in embedding generative AI across various products contrasts with Google’s experimental testing of the SGE. Both companies are striving to establish their dominance in the AI landscape, shaping the evolution of search engine experiences.