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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Google reduces AI summaries in search prior to ‘Pizza Glue’ mishap

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In Short:

Google’s AI-powered search engine upgrade, AI Overviews, faced criticism for generating inaccurate and bizarre answers. Data from BrightEdge shows Google has reduced the frequency of AI Overviews appearing in search results. Google made technical updates to improve response quality after acknowledging errors. The drop in AI Overviews suggests a cautious approach but internal statistics on appearance frequency remain undisclosed. AI Overviews are most common in health care searches compared to ecommerce, restaurants, or travel queries.

Google’s AI Upgrade Faces Initial Challenges

Google recently introduced AI-generated answers to search queries, known as AI Overviews, but faced criticism due to inaccurate responses, such as suggesting eating unconventional items like rocks and pizza with glue.

Reduction in AI Overview Frequency

A study by BrightEdge revealed that Google has significantly reduced the frequency of AI Overviews appearing in search results since its launch. Initially present on 27% of tracked queries, this percentage dropped to 11% following public backlash.

Caution in Rollout

BrightEdge’s founder, Jim Yu, noted Google’s cautious approach in response to the initial feedback. Google spokesperson, Ned Adriance, mentioned ongoing refinements to improve response quality despite the reduction in AI Overview appearance.

Technical Updates and Internal Data

Google implemented over a dozen technical improvements based on user feedback, aiming to offer more accurate and useful AI Overviews. Internal statistics on the frequency of AI Overviews were not shared publicly.

Focus Areas for AI Overviews

BrightEdge’s data highlighted that AI Overviews were more prevalent in healthcare-related searches compared to queries in ecommerce, restaurants, or travel categories. Google continues to evaluate and adjust the presence of AI Overviews based on user interactions.

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