Google’s AI updates could spark chaos for web creators — and be a death blow for some startups

Google’s AI updates could spark chaos for web creators — and be a death blow for some startups


Google i/o event Sundar Pichai



Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google




  • Google’s new AI products may be making some start-ups nervous.
  • An AI-enhanced Google Search and email assistant could threaten smaller AI companies.
  • Web creators are also nervous that a widely used AI-search engine may disrupt web traffic.

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Google has new AI products — and they might be making some start-ups nervous.

The company unveiled several of its AI efforts at its I/O conference on Tuesday, including a flashy AI-enhanced Google Search and an assistant that can summarize and sort through Gmail.

The announcements were followed by social media chatter claiming Google’s new launches would “kill” email and browser-based agents, including Perplexity AI.

Founded by former Google and OpenAI employees, Perplexity’s product is an AI chatbot search engine that provides conversational answers.

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Google’s new AI-enhanced search promises to do pretty much the same thing — but already benefits from a loyal user base. This could allow users to abandon tools like Perplexity AI and go straight to Google for their AI needs instead.

It’s not the first time Big Tech has wreaked havoc on smaller players.

Last year, a minor update to ChatGPT that allowed it to interact with PDFs threatened to make startups building “wrappers” for AI chatbots redundant. As Business Insider’s Hasan Chowdhury noted at the time, startups without a moat to make them significantly different from competitors are at risk of being plundered.

Google’s new AI search is also making creators nervous that web traffic could be disrupted.

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The company’s new vision for search could transform how the internet has worked for decades. Instead of displaying a list of links to answer queries, it could send users automated answers and disrupt the flow of traffic around the web.

A lot of internet creators rely on SEO to drive clicks, bring traffic, and advertising revenue.

Google appears to be aware of some of the hand-wringing. In a blog post, search chief Liz Reid addressed concerns that the changes could result in fewer website visits.

“We see that the links included in AI Overviews get more clicks than if the page had appeared as a traditional web listing for that query,” she wrote. “As we expand this experience, we’ll continue to focus on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators.”

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A Google spokesperson told Business Insider that AI Overviews would show more links and link to a wider range of the results page. They said AI Overviews would increase Search usage, allowing it to continue to send traffic to the web.


On February 28, Axel Springer, Business Insider’s parent company, joined 31 other media groups and filed a $2.3 billion suit against Google in Dutch court, alleging losses suffered due to the company’s advertising practices.

Axel Springer, Business Insider’s parent company, has a global deal to allow OpenAI to train its models on its media brands’ reporting.

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