Concerns rise as Google implements AI for search engine answers

While Google claims the new formula will benefit publishers, publishers are concerned about potential website traffic declines.

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Google’s deployment of AI to condense search results is causing publishers’ concern about potential website traffic declines. The update to Google’s search engine, recently announced, will introduce AI-generated summaries of online queries in the US, with plans to expand globally. The implementation of AI in Google browsers could diminish the significance of links and web pages for over a billion users, potentially reducing audiences for bloggers, news outlets, and other online content creators who rely on Google referrals.

The AI-generated summaries, produced by Google’s Gemini technology, will offer concise insights from various online sources with minimal links. Google claims the change will encourage users to explore a wider range of websites, but critics, including Marketing AI Institute CEO Paul Roetzer, anticipate negative impacts on publishers and advertisers. With little information Google provides about the implications for these stakeholders, uncertainty looms over the future of online visibility and revenue generation.

Despite concerns, some experts see potential opportunities for collaboration between AI companies and news outlets to leverage real-time data for AI models.

Jeff Jarvis, a professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, suggests that news organisations with credible information could benefit from partnerships with AI giants. However, the advertising industry faces uncertainties, with Semasio CEO Jeff Ragovin warning of potential revenue losses and the need for better-targeted ads amidst the AI-driven search landscape.