June 23, 2024
Google AI Overviews Search Errors Go Viral
AI

Google “AI Overviews” Search Errors Go Viral

Google’s experimental “AI Overviews” tool has sparked controversy by providing bizarre advice. Some users searching for ways to make cheese stick to pizza better were told to use “non-toxic glue.” The AI also suggested that geologists recommend eating one rock per day. A Google spokesperson described these incidents as “isolated examples.”

Sources and Social Media Mockery

The erroneous answers appeared to be based on Reddit comments or articles from the satirical site, The Onion. These instances have been widely mocked on social media. Google insisted that the tool is generally working well, stating, “The examples we’ve seen are generally very uncommon queries, and aren’t representative of most people’s experiences.” They emphasized that most AI overviews provide high-quality information with links for further reading. Google has taken action on “policy violations” and is using these cases to refine its systems.

Ongoing Challenges with AI-Powered Products

Google has faced issues with its AI-powered products before. In February, it paused its chatbot Gemini due to criticism for its “woke” responses. Gemini’s predecessor, Bard, also encountered significant problems at launch. Google began trialing AI overviews in search results for a small number of logged-in UK users in April and expanded the feature to all US users in mid-May during its annual developer showcase. This tool uses AI to summarize search results, aiming to reduce the need for users to scroll through multiple websites.

Despite being experimental, the feature is expected to be widely used and trusted due to Google’s dominance in the search engine market, accounting for over 90% of the global market according to Statcounter. While many experts see AI-driven search as the future, the reliability of these tools is crucial. Other companies, like Microsoft and OpenAI, also face backlash for their AI tools. The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft’s continuous screenshot feature, and actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice similar to hers without permission.

Image by Flickr

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