Google Pauses Its AI-Based Search Feature

ai based search, ai, search engine, features, ai overviews,

Google is reeling in its new AI-based search engine feature, AI Overviews, after a series of questionable and borderline offensive AI errors.

  • Google’s AI Overviews were an epic failure, as one recommended adding glue to pizza.
  • In response to the Backlash, Google is regrouping, limiting the AI’s capabilities.

After receiving backlash for its questionable answers, Google is cutting back on its AI-based search feature, AI Overviews, further falling behind competitors.

Last month, Google revamped its ever-reliable search engine. The most anticipated addition was AI Overviews, a feature that provides summaries for certain search queries. It’s supposed to gather information from various web sources. We’ve been looking forward to AI tools for research, especially if they are easily accessible through an AI-powered search engine. They confided the initial launch to the U.S. However, it wasn’t long until it started giving false answers. For example, when asked when former U.S. President Barack John F. Kennedy graduated, not only did the AI give the wrong university, but it also gave six different years, three of which were after his death. But it didn’t just stop at giving false information about public figures. That’s relatively tame and forgivable. The AI-based search engine feature recommended putting nontoxic glue on pizza to keep the cheese stuck to it. That’s worrisome considering we’ve had people eating Tide pods a few years back, despite doctors advising against it worldwide. But I digress.

Tactical Retreat

Following the backlash and users making fun of the AI errors by photoshopping more nonsensical responses, Liz Reid, Google’s head of research, wrote in a blog post that the company will be scaling the AI-based search feature back and adding more safeguards.

“We built better detection mechanisms for nonsensical queries that shouldn’t show an AI Overview and limited the inclusion of satire and humor content [like The Onion]. We updated our systems to limit the use of user-generated content in responses that could offer misleading advice [like Reddit].”

It’s a Race, not a Sprint

The AI boom happened at the end of 2022, when OpenAI came out with its flagship model, ChatGPT, and Microsoft pounced on it with an initial $10 million.

From there, tech companies wanted their piece of the AI pie. Google was somewhat late to the party, launching Its AI, which was named Bard when it was first launched, in February 2023. Gemini, the AI that we know now and is the heart of the AI-based search feature, didn’t come into the conversation until February 2024, when they combined Bard with another Google AI project, Duet AI. Let me tell you, Gemini is an astronomical upgrade over Bard.

While Microsoft had a hand in supporting OpenAI, it came out with its AI, Copilot, in February 2023, integrating it into Bing shortly thereafter, in September of that year. Meanwhile, Google was sprinting to overtake Microsoft and make up for its late start.

Is there any wonder that Copilot is much more put together than Google’s new AI search engine addition?

It could be that Microsoft did not restructure their search engine, but rather added to it. You still get your conventional results, but the AI answer is in a small window on the side. A suggestion rather than a force. Google, however, restructured how its search engine displays results, adding a new “Web” tab, and gave AI Overviews center stage. We understand it; it’s the new shiny toy, and they want everyone to see it. But they caused so much chaos, especially for publishers, who were not happy with the AI-based search feature to begin with. It was robbing them of web traffic.

All of That and for What?

Google ran to integrate its AI into the search engine. We got excited because AI research tools mean an easier time finding information. But instead of delivering the AI-based search feature of our dreams, they handed us a dragon that hoards information but does not know what to do with it. This oversight took what was supposed to be THE feature and made it useless. Not to mention, they sent publishers into a frenzy. Over what? A failure? To quote Hunter S. Thompson, journalist and author, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.”

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Intelligent Tech sections to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.