Curated Resource ( ? )

Google’s broken link to the web

Google’s broken link to the web

my notes ( ? )

"When Sundar Pichai took the stage at Google I/O ... said that the rise of generative artificial intelligence would provide new opportunities... for everyone". While many products unveiled will be doubtless useful, the picture's unclear for search itself: by end 2024 "Search Generative Experience... will appear at the top of results for 1 billion users", continuing the long-underway process of reducing a user's many "visits to individual web pages into a single answer delivered within Google itself... let Google do the Googling for you", as they put it several times, positioning "browsing the web — a task once considered entertaining ... — as a chore, something better left to a bot".

cf "the computer from Star Trek: an omnipresent, omniscient digital assistant... [able] to answer questions more or less instantly... Whatever labor funded the production of knowledge that it refers to goes unmentioned, and whatever sources it relies on go uncredited."

For web publishers, this will be a bloodbath: instead of providing "a entry point to a web that it nourished with traffic and advertising revenue... [Google] has begun to abstract that all away into an input for its large language models". As a result, estimates of traffic drop range from 20-65%, and "could result in about $2 billion in losses to creators".

Of course, Google will lose money as it also "supplies advertising to many of the web pages that are about to lose all that traffic", but given their "stranglehold over digital advertising", combined with other revenue sources, they're probably right to assume they "can ride out the transition".

Concluding: "hard to escape the feeling that the web as we know it is entering a kind of managed decline", with Google "replacing the web... with itself".

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