Google is drastically changing Search with the rollout out Google AI Overview (AKA SGE) in the USA – people are not happy…

Search. When you do it online, you think Google. Well, The Big G is about to shake things up massively – and not necessarily in a good way. 

Why People Hate Google AI Overviews Feature 

Google Let's Be EvilPin

Rather than pontificate about the ethical (and, dare I say, legal) implications of what Google is doing with AI Overviews, let us instead turn to X for a sentiment check on what people think about it. 

Concerns about Content Theft and Ethical Implications

Kristine (@schachin on Threads) 🇺🇦 (@schachin) – “Not directed at you personally Danny but this is theft. They trained on content without knowledge, permission, or compensation Then created a product on top of it that takes the search clicks and revenue away from the site. There’s nothing okay about this.”

Hermak (@PXOOO1O1S1O) – “First they steal your content with copyright, then they take away your traffic. If people use a search engine, it’s because they want to visit sites. Try asking anyone if they prefer the answer of an ai or a human expert, we hear them answer.”

Micha (@michaz42) – “So you steal content from websites and then make sure that they are no longer visited? Great idea …”

Robi (@robiutft) – “Breaking: Google steals content and repackages it as ‘AI Overviews’ 😂😂😂😂”

Daniel Hart (@Okayy_Dan) – “What a vague statement – ‘people use search more, and are more satisfied with their results’. Share the results then and how you’ve interpreted them.”

Ian Young (@_SEO_Ninja) – “This is Google stealing your content and displaying it as ‘helpful’. They did this with maps, flights. Your content is now a footnote to their answer.”

Impact on Small Publishers and Content Creators

PAPPACLARTUS (@GTArena) – “Way to kill us small publishers. Since September like many my income has been destroyed with your garbage updates. Where do I send the invoice for lost earnings?”

David Gidlund (@konsultaffen) – “You are basically killing the internet with this.”

Jake Hoffman (@JakePHoffman) – “The public reaction to this garbage product will be fun to watch.”

SerpSeeker (@SerpSeeker) – “You steal our content and pay us nothing. Be on notice we intend to pursue Government sanctions and seek civil remedies in compensation.”

User Frustration and Disbelief

Suganthan Mohanadasan (@Suganthanmn) – “Babe, it’s SGE renamed as AI overviews. I swear.”

Michael Costin (@servicescaling) – “I don’t believe people use it more and are more satisfied.”

Ludvig Hoel (@LudvigHoel) – “Why do you even do this?? No one will use it! Users will hate it! I know, because I’m a user.”

Tony Stasiek (@tstasiek) – “I’d love to see the data supporting ‘people use Search more’ 🧐”

Broader Industry Reactions

The Other Side (@talesofsuccess) – “Google is violating its own spam policies. 1. Scrapped content: Sites that modify content using automated techniques. 2. Site Reputation Abuse: when content is published with no first-party oversight or involvement.”

Jason Jones (@JasonJonesJoe) – “Wow. G has built a Web scraping tool that can stop readers visiting websites or at least reduce interaction with the sources scraped, and readers don’t know the devastation caused. Cunning use of web scraping–congrats! 🥳 🎉”

Dmytro 🇺🇦 📈 (@kearonis) – “What’s the point of giving access to my content to Googlebot if you’re not sending any traffic? You’re just stealing content while doing the same thing that people you call spammers do.”

Patrick Hartoonian (@PatHartoonian) – “SGE is objectively not good.”

Sean Johnson (@flytyingguy) – “So now Google is http://answer.com/?”

Calls for Change and Action

Vincent Thomas (@VThomas454) – “AI Overviews: When you change from being a search tool to a content provider misusing copyrighted content theft.”

Jose Noguera (@thejosetree) – “You’re going to have a nice ride when more and more people begin to lock their content under a paywall.”

Sannidhi (@HeySannidhi) – “To everyone involved, directly or indirectly: A big Thank You.”

Ryan Katz (@thewedgiegiver) – “It steals content, when is the class action lawsuit? Count me in!”

Enoch Omololu (Savvy New Canadians) (@SavvyCanadians) – “Theft is what this is! 🤡”

Why is Google AI Overviews So Controversial?

Everybody HATES Google's AI Overviews Feature – Here's WhyPin

Google AI Overviews – previously called Google SGE – aims to answer searchers queries using AI. Now, that’s fine. But the bone of contention here is where is Google getting the data from? 

If you’re unaware, Google has released a plethora of algorithm updates in the last 12 months. These updates crushed smaller, independent publishers – bloggers, content creators, everybody except the big publishing houses essentially. 

We lost around 80% of our visibility in search (and you know what queries they were? Informational ones), had to let people go, and all while following Google’s publisher guidelines to the letter.

Smaller, independent content sites – often referred to as “niche sites” – predominantly write informational content, helping searchers understand a subject or topic. And this is how Google has worked, more or less, since day one. 

These niche sites are now gone from Google’s SERPs; publishers across the globe, numbering in the tens of thousands, have lost upwards of 80% of their visibility in Google (and by proxy their revenues and businesses).

And the problem with this “new model” for search? It isn’t accurate. In fact, it has been caught giving not just wrong information, but potentially dangerous information to users.

The sad part about all this is that had Google, rather than chasing a fast buck with AI, instead focussed on its core business (Search) and its unique selling point (trustworthiness and reliability) and contrasted it against the main problem with current LLMs (they’re not accurate most of the time), it could have wiped the floor – from a PR perspective – with OpenAI.

But, no. Instead, proper Search is now relegated to a tabbed section inside the SERPs, and everybody will be forced to get their information from a machine, not a human with expert, specialised knowledge.  

My advice? Turn off AI Overviews, send a message, loud and clear, to Google that no one wants “AI answers” in the SERPs.

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