Friday, May 24, 2024

Google Rolls Out SGE: Here’s How Publishers Are Responding

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Google’s AI-powered search tool, formerly Search Generative Experience, is now available widely in the U.S., with a global rollout following soon, CEO Sundar Pichai said at Google’s I/O conference held in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday.

That’s not great news for publishers, which have seen a substantial decline of up to 60% in organic search traffic, translating to an estimated $2 billion loss in ad revenue within Google’s pilot version.

Now rebranded as AI Overviews, Google’s AI search engine has processed billions of queries over the past year, offering fact-driven summarizations and pushing publisher link placements to the bottom, prioritizing summarized content over publisher websites.

To try and maintain search traffic and revenue in an era of generative AI search, publishers are striking deals with rivals like OpenAI—which has an AI-powered search engine pending—to incorporate publisher content into ChatGPT outputs. Other publishers are working with vendors like TollBit to try and put a price tag on publisher content used by AI firms.

“Google is flexing its market dominance to further entrench it,” said Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next. “By making this move, they’re flipping a switch to replace open web with their own content to increase their profits, which are almost entirely driven by advertising today.”

New revenue streams

Publishers like The Associated Press, Dotdash Meredith and computer forum Stack Overflow are striking deals with rivals like OpenAI. The ChatGPT owner has been offering publishers between $1 million and $5 million annually to access publisher content in order to train its gen AI models, per The Information. OpenAI is courting more publishers with licensing deals in its Preferred Publisher Program.

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