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What does Google's new AI overview look like in search results?

What does Google's new AI overview look like in search results?


If you've searched for anything on Google lately, you may have noticed a new AI-powered summary that answers your questions in just a few sentences. You don't even have to click a link.

This new feature has some AI analysts worried that the fallout for businesses, advertisers, and consumers could be slippery.

It works like this: If you need a recipe for white bean chili, instead of scrolling through a site full of ads, our AI will generate the recipe in seconds.

“I think it's definitely a good thing for consumers,” said Tom Davenport, an author and professor at Babson College who specializes in artificial intelligence.

With the new features, “I think it's going to make it a lot easier to learn what you're going to learn,” he says.

But easier doesn't necessarily mean better, points out Stuart Geiger, a data science professor at the University of California, San Diego. That could mean consumers don't have to think critically about the information they receive.

“You're not talking about the original source or where it came from. You don't see any comments, you don't even know who posted it,” Geiger said. “And I think these things are really important for digital media literacy.”

Then there's the fact that AI has a habit of hallucinating. “This is a crowd pleaser,” Geiger said. “The requested content will be generated regardless of whether it is true or not.”

Chirag Shah, a professor at the University of Washington School of Information, said this could also be bad news for advertisers and advertising platforms.

Less attention to advertising means less revenue for your website. “So the whole ecosystem that was built around Google is going to collapse and start to collapse.”

And as that collapses, fewer companies are likely to publish information on the Internet that Google can use for free, Shah said.

“Right now, I have something new and interesting to share, but I don't want to put it out because Google will pick it up,” he said.

A Google spokesperson said the new AI features are actually improving search usage and satisfaction, and will continue to drive traffic to the web.

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