Headline RoundupMay 15th, 2024

Google Adds AI Answers to Search, Threatening Online Publishers

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Google is rolling out AI-powered answers in its search results this week, prompting fears from online media publishers who rely on search traffic. 

The Details: Along with “AI Overviews,” which summarize results in response to queries, Google is launching several AI upgrades, including searching via video. As The Verge (Lean Left bias) put it, “Google is redesigning its search engine — and it’s AI all the way down.” 

For Context: While Google’s head of Search called the change “exciting” for users, not everyone is happy. Millions of online creators and publishers — including AllSides — rely on search for a substantial portion of their web traffic. One critic told the New York Post (Lean Right bias) Google was “flipping a switch to replace the open web with their own content.” Google previously paused image generation for its flagship AI model, Gemini, in February amid criticism of racially-confused results; the same month, AllSides confirmed its Lean Left bias rating for Google News. In March, Google restricted Gemini from answering questions about elections globally. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage appeared less common in right-rated outlets, partly because AllSides rates most tech and business outlets as Center or Lean Left. While coverage generally lacked a partisan slant, The Washington Post (Lean Left bias) stood out by predicting “carnage” for publishers.

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