Will web traffic die? Sundar Pichai on AI search amid publisher backlash - Hindustan Times
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Will web traffic die? Sundar Pichai on AI search amid publisher backlash

By | Edited by Mallika Soni
May 21, 2024 11:02 AM IST

Sundar Pichai said that he remained optimistic about the future of web as Google is committed to prioritising high-quality content and user satisfaction.

Sundar Pichai responded to concerns with respect to Google's implementation of AI-powered search results. This comes after publishers rallied against Google's new system which they feat could be a "death blow" to traffic. The debate sparked a discussion about the future of the web which Sundar Pichai said that he remains optimistic about as Google is committed to prioritising high-quality content and user satisfaction.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at a Google I/O event in Mountain View, California. (AP)
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at a Google I/O event in Mountain View, California. (AP)

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He said, “I do see the capability frontier continuing to move forward. I think we are a bit limited if we were just training on text data, but I think we are all making it more multi-model, so I see more opportunities there”- referencing Google's AI model Gemini.

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Talking about worries of publishers who fear losing web traffic, Sundar Pichai said that the change in Google search is similar to a shift from desktop to mobile web browsing. He said, "Empirically, what we are seeing throughout these years, I think human curiosity is boundless. When people come, and it's something I think we have deeply understood in search, more than any other company, I think we will differentiate ourselves in our approach even through this transition."

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Emphasizing value of user feedback in driving development, he said, "At the end of the day, we are trying to satisfy user expectations, and users are voting with their feet." He cited data showing increased click-through rates on links embedded within AI overviews, concluding that "It actually helps them understand, and so they engage with content underneath too."

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