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AI Innovation: Google Tests Search Answer Generation in UK Trial

AI Innovation: Google Tests Search Answer Generation in UK Trial
Google Google
AI Innovation: Google Tests Search Answer Generation in UK Trial
Google Google

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AI Innovation: Google Tests Search Answer Generation in UK Trial

Google has commenced testing AI-generated search answers in the UK following a successful trial in the US last year. Initially, only a small subset of logged-in UK users will encounter AI-generated “overviews” displayed atop certain search results. While Google’s move aims to enhance user experience, concerns have arisen among publishers regarding potential decreases in website traffic.

Microsoft’s Bing already incorporates AI through its Copilot feature, prompting apprehensions among publishers that AI-generated responses may satisfy user inquiries without necessitating visits to their sites. Moreover, such responses may feature fewer links and advertisements, exacerbating publishers’ fears.

Dubbed the “Search Generative Experience” by Google, the feature has been accessible in the US for nearly a year, albeit restricted to users who enrolled via Google Labs. The UK trial, targeting a fraction of logged-in users, coincides with speculation about Google offering subscriptions for premium AI search features, which the company has refuted.

Hema Budaraju, overseeing Google’s generative AI initiatives in search, assured that AI-generated results would still include links and ads. Emphasizing the priority to drive traffic to creators, Budaraju noted that AI-powered results would feature an expanded range of sources.

However, Google remains mindful of potential AI pitfalls, including the generation of harmful, biased, or factually incorrect content. To mitigate these risks, the company aims to uphold information quality by prioritizing accuracy over fluency in AI-generated responses. For instance, AI answers will be limited to queries with sufficient high-quality information sources.

Users encountering issues with the results can provide feedback, as Google emphasizes this initiative as an experimental endeavor. Budaraju acknowledged the inevitability of encountering bias and safety issues but affirmed Google’s commitment to addressing and improving upon these challenges.

While US users have responded positively to the trial, the widespread adoption of AI-generated search answers may introduce additional complexities, including heightened energy consumption associated with powering large AI systems. Consequently, addressing environmental concerns associated with increased energy usage will be imperative as AI technology continues to evolve.


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