Google used to take pride in minimizing time we spent there, guiding us to relevant pages as quickly as possible. Over time, they tried to answer everything themselves: longer snippets, inline FAQs, search results full of knowledge panels.
Today’s Bard announcement feels like their natural evolution: extracting all value out of the internet for themselves, burying pages at the bottom of each GPT-generated essay like footnotes.
Yep. Similarly, Joanna Stern thinks the new AI-powered search at Bing is terrific, but note this: When she asked Bing’s AI a question, “Bing’s chatbot typed out the answer, with a bulleted list of winners and a mention of Beyoncé’s most-Grammys-ever record. The answer also contained clickable citations, noting the source of the listed information.”
My question: Who’s gonna click through to the links? Almost nobody. People who use such services will simply assume that Bard and Bing, that classic comedy duo, provide the correct answers and thus will never leave the search page. Ease of use and superficial plausibility will leave users in a state of frictionless ignorance; sites that contain genuinely useful information will remain unvisited; and the various AI “services” will comprise a new power/knowledge regime.