Google wants to fundamentally change search engine
As part of the Google I/O 2023 development conference, Google presented a new version of its search engine that primarily relies on artificial intelligence. In the future, the focus will be on AI-generated answers to questions entered. Links to websites, which have formed the core of the search so far, are to move into the background. That would mean a fundamental change of the Internet.
Google wants to move AI results to center stage
However, Google is not as radical as Microsoft in redesigning its search engine. In the future, an artificial intelligence is to answer entered questions in detail. For this purpose, a wide, colored block will be displayed. This contains the answer and links to the sources used by the AI. Search results from the Internet are still to be found under this block, but they are clearly no longer the focus of the search results.
Below the outputted AI answer, there is also the option to enter a query. If this option is used, the system switches to a chat mode. The search results from the Internet then disappear completely.
Google emphasized, however, that links and also advertisements should remain part of the search results, as the company sees these as integral parts of the Internet. They are necessary for comprehensive information and an appropriate user experience.
Change of the Internet?
Nevertheless, it is to be feared that the way the Internet is used is likely to change drastically with the Google changeover. This is especially problematic because the switch to AI answers may mean that many users will rely on the AI output without doing their own fact-checking. This, in turn, means a kind of monopolization of knowledge and could significantly influence societal discourses in a wide variety of areas. Against this background, critical thinking and critical questioning of AI responses, as well as the competence to be able to obtain and check information from other sources as well, appear to be key skills in dealing with media. In the long run, search engines like Ecosia, which – at least so far – do not rely on AI-generated general answers, could thus also gain in importance.
So far only in beta mode
So far, the new Google search can only be used in beta mode as part of Google Labs. Users from Germany cannot test it yet. This is only possible in the USA and only in the Chrome browser there. Whether and when it will be released worldwide is not yet known. However, Google left no doubt that it wants to stick to the project.
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