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This is exactly what Google showed off at its annual developer meeting, Google I/O, this month. AI was the theme of the year, with the word appearing more than 140 times during the two-hour keynote address.
Google showed off AI products that will be available to the public. This is a big change for the concerned internet giant, which has been trying to keep up with the competition.
Late last year OpenAI released ChatGPT and almost everyone loved it. Suddenly, everyone had access to an artificial intelligence system that seemed capable of answering any question with a new answer. It is powered by a Large Language Model, or LLM, which allows it to act as “autocomplete on steroids” by using large amounts of text data to figure out what the next best word should be.
ChatGPT has grown faster than any other consumer web tool because it is powerful and easy to use. It got Microsoft to invest more in OpenAI and add ChatGPT technology directly to Bing search earlier this year. This helped the company get 16% more traffic. The day before Microsoft showed off Bing AI, Google showed off its own AI creative engine called Bard, but the launch went awry, costing the company $100 billion in market value. Since then, the stock has rallied back to its best level of the year so far.
In many ways, Google I/O was a vote on the company’s awkward entry into consumer AI, and a clear message to skeptics (and investors) that it’s ready to take radical steps to stay on top of search. on the internet, even if it means changing. its main product. Google Search has long been the primary way people and businesses use the Internet to find product information, find the latest news, and do more. It is also the number of businesses that make money.
The new generative search experience, or SGE, is an experimental form of search that gives less weight to the 10 blue links that have made Google what it is for the past 25 years. Instead, a person’s answer to any question, no matter how specific, is given in a green box that grows as it fills the screen.
“Now search does the heavy lifting for you,” said Cathy Edwards, Google’s vice president of engineering, at I/O. She said the way search works now, complicated questions have to be broken down into smaller ones, and the user has to sort through the information and figure out the answer in her head. SGE can easily do all of that, and can even ask you to do more.
Additionally, it eliminates the need to visit multiple websites, reducing the number of clicks required to access a web page and potentially undermining the Internet’s advertising-based economic model.
According to Statcounter, Google has a 93% market share, making it the dominant player in online search. According to a 2019 analysis by Brightedge Research, search engines are also the top sources of traffic for websites, accounting for 68% of all online experiences. At one point, Google was valued at $2 trillion thanks to its hegemony in the search market.
With SGE, Google can propel businesses and Internet users into a new era that will require fresh thinking about how to encourage the creation of material relevant to Google’s AI system while ensuring that high-quality information quality can continue to spread.
There is currently no user experience data for SGE because enrollments started recently. But for the past three months, Microsoft has been collecting information for Bing AI, which could shed light on how users would likely respond to AI-powered Google searches.
“Feedback on responses produced by the new Bing has been largely good, with 71% of preview users giving the AI-powered responses a thumbs up, a Microsoft representative said. “We are seeing a healthy level of engagement in the chat feature, with multiple questions being asked during a session to learn new information.”
There is uncertainty about how AI-generated news articles will integrate with AI results from Google or Bing. Publishers are already testing the use of AI-written content. Unfortunately, the AI can “hallucinate” when it confidently states that something is true when it is not.
In the event that the hallucination issue is finally resolved, generative AI in search may be faster and ultimately more beneficial to users. However, it’s not yet clear how it might impact the digital publishing industry, particularly if people stop clicking links in large numbers.
A Google representative said: “We will continue to prioritize strategies that drive valuable traffic to a wide variety of creators and support a healthy, open web as we experiment with new LLM-powered capabilities in Search.” While it is true that Google prominently links to sources on SGE, it is not clear whether SGE will drive more or higher quality traffic to websites.
When asked about traffic to feeds when using AI search, Microsoft did not respond. Google stated that while it currently has no plans to disclose publisher payments, it “will continue to work with the broader ecosystem.”
According to Monica Ho, director of marketing at SOCi, a digital marketing company, “I think [generative AI] It’s going to reduce the amount of traffic going out because that’s the purpose.” She suggests, however, that since users are looking for specific information rather than hopping between websites, the traffic the websites receive may be of a higher quality.
There may be no viable alternatives if Google’s traffic source deteriorates. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and professor of political communication at Oxford University, says that social networking sites like Facebook have proven unreliable partners for newspapers, cutting news on a whim. Platforms like Instagram or TikTok, he continued, “generate comparatively few references and don’t really present links like search and social networks do.”
Search engines currently “crawl” websites every day to gather new information and index it in the results. Due to traffic conversion, websites allow free crawling by search engines. However, if AI search results in fewer clicks, the search economy may require a complete overhaul.
Don White, CEO of Satisfi Labs, a conversational artificial intelligence company, predicted that original information would be placed behind paywalls and force LLM models to pay to read it. The sites will eventually pay per view on the “Spotify-style compensation model,” according to White.
In the end, Google may need to find a way for the money to reach content producers and newspapers so that there is still a motivation to produce high-quality information.
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