Google’s New ‘AI Overviews’ Threatens Creators’ Income

(Photo: Google)

Google is opening a new chapter for search with AI Overviews. For content creators and indie publishers, this could be an issue. A major one.

According to Google, AI Overviews will do the searching for you.

“You can ask whatever’s on your mind or whatever you need to get done — from researching to planning to brainstorming — and Google will take care of the legwork.” ~Google

And, how will it do that? By providing the answer, or an “overview,” at the top of the search results.

AI Overviews explained

In a video example from Google, a user types “how do you clean a fabric sofa.”

At the top of the search results, Google provides an answer panel with a list of tips on various methods. Below that are links to various articles. Then, lower are shopping links to products related to the question.

“Sometimes you want a quick answer, but you don’t have time to piece together all the information you need. Search will do the work for you with AI Overviews.” ~Google

But someone has also done the work for Google. And in many cases, it appears that’s likely US! the content creators and publishers.

Google isn’t a content creator. The answers it provides come from information on the Internet.

Testing & commitment to creators

Let Google tell it, we shouldn’t be concerned because the links under its overviews will allow the user to learn more.

But what about when Google’s answer provides everything you need to know? Using our content.

There’s no need to worry, according to Google. AI Overviews was used billions of times during the experiment phase, and the company claims it found “people use Search more.”

Google claims people visit a greater diversity of websites for help with more complex questions.

And the company says links included in AI Overviews get more clicks than if the page had appeared as a traditional web listing for that query.

As we expand this experience, we’ll continue to focus on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators.” ~ Google

People with good sense aren’t buying the bull–. Listen to CNBC’s Julia Boorstin:


“We’re deeply concerned about the implications of AI Overviews. Our initial analysis suggests it will significantly reduce search traffic to content creators’ websites, directly impacting their ad revenue and, by extension, their livelihoods. As our CEO, Michael Sanchez, told The Washington Post, this change could put the future of the open internet in danger,” ~Statement from Raptive, a company that helps creators grow.

More AI Overviews features

For those of you who may be tempted to underestimate the range of content that could be impacted—there’s more to this story.

Google created AI Overviews with “multi-step reasoning capabilities” that will allow it to answer increasingly complex questions that, in the past, may have required multiple Google searches. Or that may have motivated people to read our content.

Google provided an example of this capability using someone looking for a fitness studio.

“Soon, with just one search, you’ll be able to ask something like ‘find the best yoga or Pilates studios in Boston and show me details on their intro offers, and walking time from Beacon Hill,’” Google said.

AI Overviews is supposed to be able to provide answers that factor in all the facets of that query.

Again, if the overview shows the business that’s closest and has the best offer, what are the odds that a person needs anymore information from the underlying content?  If anything, what they’re likely to click through to is the business they’re interested in.

So, although AI overviews could be a traffic driver for advertisers or businesses listed in the Google responses, for content creators and indie publishers, this new chapter in search isn’t looking so sharp.

Oh, and one more thing to brighten a creator’s day…

AI Overviews won’t just answer questions. Google says it helps people with planning.

So, if users want to create a meal plan, exercise plan, or trip, Google’s new tool will pull together info from across the web and users will be able to export the plan to Docs or Gmail.

Everyone in the U.S. will get access to AI Overviews this week. And Google plans to roll it out in more countries in the near future, giving +1 billion people access to the capability by the end of the year.

Are you excited?

On “The Exchange,” Mark Douglas, CEO of MNTN, suggests Google is prepared for the showdown over content:


The question is are creators and indie publishers going to prepare for what’s coming?


HEAR: Why Freelancers Can’t Base Their Lifestyle on Their Income