Google is taking on Microsoft at its own game as the tech giant has begun testing its own image generation tool on the AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE).

It functions almost exactly like Bing Chat: you enter a prompt directly into Google Search, and after a few seconds, four images pop out. What’s unique about it is you can choose one of the pictures and develop it even further by editing its description to add more detail. Google gives the example of asking SGE to generate “a photorealistic image of a capybara” cooking breakfast in the forest. The demo then shows you how to alter specific aspects like changing the food the animal is cooking, from bacon to hash browns, or swapping out the backdrop from trees to the sky. 

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This feature won’t be locked to just Google Search as the company states you might “see an option to create AI-generated images directly in Google Images”. In that instance, one of the image search results will be replaced with a button offering access to the engine. The creation will slide in from the right in its own sub-window.

Image generation on Google Images

(Image credit: Google)

Limitations

There are some restrictions to this experiment. SGE includes safeguards that will block content that runs counter to the company’s policy for generative AI. This includes, but is not limited to, promoting illegal activities, creating misinformation, and generating anything sexually explicit that isn’t educational or “artistic”. Additionally, every picture that comes out will be marked with “metadata labeling” plus a watermark indicating it was made by an AI. 

Further down the line, AI content will receive its own About This Image description giving people important context about what they’re looking at. Google clearly does not want to be the source of misinformation on the internet.

Google states in the announcement this test is currently only available in English to American users who have opted into the SGE program. You also must be 18 years or older to use it. What isn’t mentioned is that not everyone will be given access. This includes us, which is why we’re unable to share our creations with you. 

If you’re interested in entering the program, we have a detailed guide giving step-by-step instructions on how to join SGE. It’s really easy to do. You just have to sign up on the Search Labs website on desktop or mobile. 

SGE drafts

Besides pictures, you can ask SGE to write up drafts for messages or emails if you’re not very good with words. Google gives the example of having the AI “write a note to a contractor asking for a quote” for renovating a part of your house. Once that’s done, you can take the draft into either Google Docs or Gmail where you can tweak it and give it your voice. The company states this particular content has the same level of protection as everything under the Google Workspace umbrella, so your data is safe.

Like the image generation, SGE drafts are rolling out to American users in English. No word if there are plans for an international release, although we did ask.

If you're looking for something on mobile, check out TechRadar's list of the four best AI art generator apps on iPhone.

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