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Google remains focused on its long search for your eyes

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Google remains focused on its long search for your eyes

Google announced this week that it would begin the international rollout of its new artificial intelligence-powered search feature, called AI Overviews. When billions of people search for a variety of topics, from news to recipes to general knowledge questions, what they will see first will now be an AI-generated summary.

Google promoted AI Overviews at its annual I/O Developers conference as a way to give customers quick answers and simplify the online search experience, but it also has another effect on the way people interact with the Internet: keeping to connected users and advertisers. Google com. It’s a new era in Google Search’s years of attention.

“Google will search Google for you,” said Liz Reid, head of Google Search.

While Google was once primarily a portal to reach other parts of the Internet, it has spent years consolidating content and services to become the web’s premier destination. Weather, flights, sports scores, stock prices, language translation, schedules and a host of other information have been gradually incorporated into Google’s search page over the past 15 years. Finding that information no longer requires clicking to another website. With AI Overviews, the rest of the Internet may suffer the same fate.

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Website owners are understandably worried. Although Google’s demo made it seem like its AI could pull answers out of thin air, these summaries are built from media content, cooking blogs, product reviews, and other articles that require human workers to write. All of these sites rely on advertising revenue from people who visit their web pages, something that may no longer be the case if users can get a condensed version of a site within seconds of performing a search.

Google has tried to allay publishers’ fears that users will no longer see their links or click through to their sites, with Reid indicating During I/O, individual articles appearing in AI overviews get more traffic than if they were traditional web listings. However, the company has not mentioned whether it predicts that overall search traffic will decline and research firm Gartner predicts a 25% drop in traffic to websites from search engines by 2026, a decline that would be disastrous for most media and creators.

Google search to keep you on Google

AI overviews are the culmination of a long line of products, ranging almost two decades ago to the launch of their personalized homepage, which have turned Google.com into its own autonomous online ecosystem. One of its first major advances in the amount of information Google would display on its search page came in 2012, with the debut of Knowledge panels – information boxes, usually taken from Wikipedia, showing basic information, photographs and biographical details about a person or topic.

Knowledge panels expanded to the point that Google CEO Sundar Pichai he boasted in 2016 which contained 70 billion facts. Then came other services like stock prices and weather reports. That would have previously required users to direct their attention to websites, causing alarm among media outlets created to provide such information. When Google started including sports schedules on its page in 2013, TechCrunch published an article titled “Google adds March Madness group to searches because they screw up sports sites.”

As Google began aggregating an increasing amount of information, concerns around misinformation also grew. Knowledge panels sometimes they list living people as dead or automatically generated job titles of people, regardless of why they might be public figures, leading to Google calls one of America’s worst mass murderers a “real estate investor.” AI overviews have already started yielding incorrect answers.

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Google has also expanded so much over the years that it’s sometimes hard to see the barriers of when its platform ends and another site begins. In 2015, Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, which loaded articles faster on the Google platform. Major news outlets quickly began publishing AMP articles, only to discover that AMP pages were generating much less advertising revenue than their own mobile sites.

Publishers have long been cautious about what Google’s strong gravitational pull has done to their dependence on the platform. Increasing dependence on their traffic has led to more than a decade of media companies seeking revenue through search engine-optimized articles ranging from the 2011 HuffPost classic “What time is the Super Bowl?” ?” to Bon Appetit recent “What is that white stuff in the food?” Those types of articles, created in response to Google’s reference search, now appear to be the most likely to become material for AI Overviews.

‘Guardian of the Internet’

The potential threat from AI Overviews is especially serious because other major platforms have become increasingly scarce and unreliable sources of traffic.

Facebook’s changes to its news feed have had repercussions throughout the media industry for years, dramatically decreasing traffic to digital media and leading it to make major structural changes such as the infamous “pivot to video” of the mid-2010s. Facebook has decreased its algorithmic emphasis on news content to the point that the political magazine Mother Jones experienced a 99% decrease in referrals since its peak year, while Meta announced in February would remove its Facebook News tab for American users. Entire countries like Canada do not see links to news On Facebook.

Other platforms have offered no respite from Facebook’s move away from the news. Never a big source of traffic or ad revenue compared to Facebook or Google, Twitter has become even more irrelevant to publishers since billionaire Elon Musk took over the platform, disdaining news content and hosted viral videos on the platform. Alternatively, Apple News has driven an immense amount of traffic to news sites powered by its app, but publishers have struggled to earn income of these partnerships, as the majority of users remain within the Apple platform.

What publishers are left with are largely direct visits to their own home pages and Google referrals. If AI Overviews eliminates a significant portion of the latter, it could mean less original reporting, fewer creators publishing cooking blogs or how-to guides, and a less diverse range of information sources. It would also increase Google’s dominance over what we see when we browse the Internet, an issue already the subject of antitrust lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice that allege the company has illegally monopolized the search and advertising industries.

“Two decades ago, Google became a Silicon Valley darling as a startup with an innovative way to search the emerging Internet,” the Justice Department said in its 2020 complaint. “That Google is long gone. “Today’s Google is a monopolistic guardian of the Internet and one of the richest companies on the planet.”

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