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15 percent of results: Google AI Overview is shown less and less

15 percent of results: Google AI Overview is shown less and less

Obviously, silly and sometimes even dangerous answers, like sticking cheese on pizza, as well as operating costs, result in Google displaying far fewer AI-generated answers in searches. At the time of introducing the AI ​​Overviews feature, it was said that 84 percent of search queries were answered with higher AI-generated texts than regular search results. It is now said that less than 15 percent of inquiries receive an AI response.


AI Overviews was initially called the Generative Search Experiment (SGE) and for a long time was only available in the test environment, Google Labs, and only in the USA. The name was changed with Google I/O and AI Answers went into regular operation, but is still not available in the EU. In the USA, people entered their search queries into Google and received sometimes disturbing answers – for example, you can stick cheese to pizza using glue – after all, Google warns that you should not choose toxic glue.

Another recommendation from AI Overviews: Breakfast stones to regulate mineral balance. There are also countless incorrect answers, such as that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Google's AI hallucinates, but it also cannot distinguish between sarcasm and jokes, resulting in, for example, glue cheese. There was a link to a forum post in which the suggestion was written as a joke.

The drop in AI responses to 15 percent was observed with the BrightEdge SEO platform. The company has been monitoring and analyzing SGE and now AI Overview since its publication. They were also able to observe that AI overviews appeared significantly more often if the answer already contained a so-called featured snippet, which are direct excerpts from websites that Google already displays in search results. Additionally, Google often responds with AI text if the search query is also asked in question form, Reports Search Engine Land, which had access to BrightEdge data.

Google is less likely to respond with an AI overview if you ask about local topics and if there is a particularly large number of site links, i.e. sub-pages. Questions about photos, videos, and even people are again likely to lead to an AI overview. Health is one topic that is often provided with an AI answer – and it is a particularly sensitive topic. Restaurants and travel rarely appear in the form of an AI overview. It is a common and recurring example from all providers that their apps (AI or non-AI) should help with travel planning. Google also emphasized how the search can be used to plan future travel, for example when asking which national park is best for a trip with kids and dogs or more complex questions.

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Google also repeatedly confirmed at I/O that Google will take over Google in the future, meaning it will already have the right answers before people continue searching or asking questions. BrightEdge has found that Google is increasingly suggesting follow-up questions and answers.

The fact that Google initially produces fewer AI answers overall is not only due to the AI's known errors and hallucinations, but also likely due to costs. The process and each query is computationally intensive, and the marketing of ad space around AI Overviews has not yet been tested as with previous search results – which could result in less income for Google. Advertising is Google's main source of income.

It is also unclear to what extent people find the AI ​​overview useful or are likely to scroll down to search results in link form. Google will definitely evaluate and incorporate this behavior.


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