Google has started testing AI-powered answers to search engine queries in the UK.

The new feature delivers an AI-generated overview of topics above other search results. It will be implemented for a “small slice” of the UK’s population after going live in the US last year.

Google is adamant that leveraging AI will not harm its search engine ecosystem, which relies on sending people to creators and publishers.

There are fears that AI-generated answers will reduce the need for users to click elsewhere, especially as they contain fewer links and ads.

However, Google spokesperson Hema Budaraju said that AI helps to show “more links to a wider range of sources”.

She added that the company prioritises “information quality” above all else and that trials have shown AI can be helpful for specific queries.

The tech giant’s recent AI push comes amid growing competition from rival Microsoft, who recently integrated its chatbot, Copilot, into Bing.

Google has enjoyed a dominant position in the search engine market for nearly two decades, but things are changing.

Social media platforms such as TikTok are transforming how young people search for and find new content.

Google hopes AI will ensure its services remain relevant, although it denied claims that these features will require a subscription.

A Financial Times report suggested that users could soon pay for an ad-free, AI-powered search experience.

Google is focused on delivering better-quality results to users across devices.

MS Budajuri said that it’s constantly monitoring “issues of bias and safety” and will invest time and resources into continually improving the service.