If you had an artificial intelligence that could digest all the information on the web and provide a summary on demand, you’d never have to read another piece of news in your life.
It’s the stuff of nightmares for media barons as Google and others experiment with what’s called generative AI, which creates new content from past data.
Since May, Google has launched a new form of creative AI-powered search, with industry observers following the rise of OpenAI’s query-answering chatbot, ChatGPT, for the tech giant’s ability to provide users with information. Questioned the importance of the future.
The product, called Search Generative Experience (SGE), uses AI to generate summaries in response to certain search queries, which Google’s system determines will be a helpful format. Those summaries appear at the top of the Google search homepage, with “dig deeper” links, according to SGE’s Google review.
If publishers want to prevent their content from being used by Google’s AI to help generate these summaries, they should use the same tool that also prevents them from appearing in Google search results, and keep them on the web. Render it virtually invisible.
A search for “Who is Jon Foss”—a recent Nobel laureate in literature—for example, produces three paragraphs on the author and his work. Drop-down buttons provide links to Foss content on Wikipedia, NPR, The New York Times, and other websites. Additional links appear to the right of the summary.
Google says the AI-generated review is synthesized from multiple web pages and links are designed as a jumping-off point to learn more. It describes SGE as an opt-in experience for users, to help it develop and improve the product, while incorporating feedback from news publishers and others.
For publishers, the new search tool is the latest red flag in a decades-long relationship in which both have struggled to compete against Google for online advertising, and rely on the tech giant for search traffic.
The still-developing product — which is now available in the United States, India and Japan — has raised concerns among publishers as they try to figure out their place in a world where AI may dominate how consumers access information. how to find and pay for them, according to four major publishers who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity so as not to complicate ongoing negotiations with Google.
These concerns relate to web traffic, whether publishers will be credited as the source of information that appears in SGE summaries, and the accuracy of their summaries, these publishers say. The bottom line is that publishers want to get paid for the content that Google and other AI companies train their AI tools on — a key sticking point around AI.
A Google spokesperson said in a statement: “As we bring creative AI to search, we continue to prioritize ways that creators, including news publishers, can support a healthy, open web.” Send valuable traffic to a wide range.”
On compensation, Google says it is working to develop a better understanding of the business model of creative AI applications and to get input from publishers and others.
In late September Google announced a new tool, called Google-Extended, that gives publishers the option to block their content from being used by Google to train its AI models.
Giving publishers the option to opt out of being crawled for AI is a “good faith gesture,” said Daniel Coffey, president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, an industry trade group that lobbies Congress on these issues. Is. “Whether payments will follow through is a question mark, and how open there is to a healthy value exchange.”
The new tool doesn’t allow publishers to block their content for SGE, either the abstract or the links that appear alongside it, without disappearing from traditional Google search.
Publishers want clicks to secure advertisers, and showing up in Google search is key to their business. According to an executive at one of the publishers, SGE’s design pushes links that appear in traditional search down the page, with the potential to reduce traffic to those links by 40%.
More worryingly, web surfers will avoid clicking on any link if the SGE passage satisfies a user’s information need – satisfied, for example, with learning the best time of year to visit Paris. So, a travel publication website without clicking anyone.
Nikhil Lai, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said SGE is “definitely going to reduce publishers’ organic traffic and they’re going to have to think about a different way to measure the value of that content, if click-through.” Not the rate,” said Forrester Research senior analyst Nikhil Lai. Nevertheless, he believes publishers’ reputations will remain strong as a result of their links appearing in SGE.
Google says it designed SGE to highlight web content. “Any estimates of specific traffic impacts are speculative and not representative, as what you see in SGE today may look very different from what you ultimately see in search,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. begins more broadly,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
These publishers say that while publishers and other industries have spent decades adjusting their websites to appear prominently in traditional Google searches, they don’t have enough information to do so for the new SGE summaries. can do
“The new AI section is a black box for us,” said an executive at a publisher. “We don’t know how to make sure we’re part of it or the algorithm behind it.”
Google said publishers don’t need to do anything different than what they’ve been doing to appear in search.
Publishers have long allowed Google to “crawl” their content for the purpose of showing it in search results – using a bot, or piece of software, to automatically scan and index it. . “Crawling” is how Google indexes the web in order to display content in search.
Publishers’ concerns about SGE boil down to one key point: They say Google is crawling their content for free to create summaries that users can read instead of clicking on their links, and that That Google isn’t clear about how they can do that. Prevent content from being crawled for SGE.
Google’s new search tool, a publisher said, “is a bigger threat to us and our business than a crawler illegally crawling our business.”
Google did not comment on the assessment.
According to exclusive data from AI content tracker Originality.ai, when given the option, websites are opting out of using their content for AI if doing so doesn’t impact search. Since its August 7 release, 27.4% of top websites are blocking ChatGPT’s bot – including The New York Times and Washington Post. That’s compared to 6% who have been blocking Google-Extended since its September 28 release.