Unlocking the future of search: How to sign up for Google's Generative Search AI (SGE)

By David Watts • 28 March 2024 • 4 minutes reading time

Search Generative Experience (SGE) is bringing instrumental changes to the world of search, meaning the way we find and receive information will be a different experience. But what exactly is SGE, and how can you get involved in this transformative experiment?

Joining the SGE experiment

To participate in the SGE Experiment, individuals can sign up via the Google Labs Homepage. However, there are a few conditions. Participants must be based in the USA or a participating country and possess an active Gmail account. So, unfortunately, Google Workspace users are currently excluded from the experiment.

How long will I wait to get on the experiment?

In our experience, in 2024, being whitelisted to participate doesn’t take that long at all. Initially, the first user account at Evolved to be accepted onto the experiment registered for the waitlist in late May 2023 and wasn’t accepted until around 5 weeks later. The good news is that the most recent account we registered (sometime in February 2024) waited next to no time and had access to the experimental features only a few days later. 

In the build-up to launch, Google will be looking to build up the amount of user behaviour data they have from people trying out Generative Search and so will likely be keen to process applications much quicker.

Eligibility and expansion

Initially available only to users in the USA, SGE has since expanded its reach to over 120 territories. Users opting in through Google Labs in these regions can access the experimental features, supporting multiple languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and Indonesian.

In a more recent update, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land highlighted via X (formally known as Twitter) that accessibility has broadened further, with reports of users in additional countries such as Poland, Romania, and Turkey gaining access to SGE. 

Accessing SGE from outside the USA

For those outside the eligible regions, accessing SGE might seem challenging. However, there is a workaround using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). By connecting to a region where the trial is live, users can circumvent geographic restrictions and experience SGE firsthand.

Registering for Google Labs

  1. If you don’t already have a VPN you’ll need to get one. There are some free ones on the market, but they aren’t always reliable. Paid VPN services tend to be relatively cheap and have good deals in the form of signing-on packages and trials.
  2. Connect your VPN to a region where the trial is live. This could simply be somewhere in the USA or any of the territories listed via the link above.
  3. Log into a Gmail account. I tend to do this in an incognito window as I have experienced some strange mixed SERPS after accessing search pages in my own country. 
  4. It may be worth changing your home address on the account to the USA, but not necessary.
  5. Go to the Labs Homepage and click to join the waitlist. You’ll receive an email when your application has been accepted.

 Activating SGE once your account has been accepted

  1. Open an incognito window and log in to Google using the whitelisted account.
  2. Go to the Labs Homepage, scroll down to the “Search Powered By Generative AI” banner and click on the “Get started” button. This will take you through to a list of available experiments where you can toggle on SGE.
  3. You’ll then be asked to accept some terms and conditions.
  4. To test – either click on the button to try an example of SGE or open a new search page and you will find that generative search answers should be available. 
  5. Going forward you should simply be able to click the conical beaker icon in the top right of your page when you’re logged in to this account.

Embracing the future of search

As SGE continues to evolve and expand, it promises to reshape our digital landscape profoundly. Businesses, researchers, and everyday users stand to benefit from its advanced capabilities and intuitive interface.

Welcoming this new era of search is not just an opportunity but a necessity for staying ahead as a curious user or a forward-thinking business.

If you are a US business or have concerns about SGE, we’re here to help with any questions you might have.

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