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Google Search's AI Overviews are somehow about to get even worse

Google is bringing ads to its AI-powered Search results, of course.

Published onMay 21, 2024

Google Search on smartphone stock photo (3)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Google has announced plans to test Search and Shopping ads within AI Overviews (SGE) for US users.
  • AI Overviews use AI to condense relevant information and eliminate the need to visit external links.
  • AI Overviews have been rolled out to all US users, and a wider global release is expected soon.

Google has already rolled out AI-powered search results, known as AI Overviews or Search Generative Experience (SGE), to all users in the United States. SGE aims to provide direct answers and summaries to search queries, potentially changing how users find information online. And now, Google is adding ads to it.

With SGE, Google’s AI condenses relevant information, eliminating the need for users to visit external links. While the convenience of immediate answers is a clear advantage, there are valid concerns about whether users can fully trust Google’s AI for information and the potential for misinformation if summaries are inaccurate or incomplete.

Additionally, the potential decrease in website traffic resulting from users finding answers directly in search results is a cause of concern because of the impact on businesses that depend on Google for visibility and revenue. This is particularly significant as Google’s revenue model is largely based on people seeing and clicking on ads related to their searches.

Well, it seems like Google has solved at least its part of the problem. In its latest Arts and Commerce blog, Google announced that it will soon test Search and Shopping ads within AI Overviews for US users. These ads will be clearly labeled as “sponsored” and appear when relevant to the query and summary information. Google claims that early tests show users finding these ads helpful and assures its commitment to directing valuable traffic to publishers and creators.

The integration of ads into AI Overviews could raise additional concerns, especially if Google’s generative AI has any role in deciding what ads to show. For the end user, this would feel like we’re back to square one, with the introduction of ads negating the original purpose of using AI to provide quick, uncluttered summaries of search queries.

Despite these concerns, Google claims that AI Overviews enhance the search experience, stating that users who utilize SGE are more likely to use Search more and express greater satisfaction with the results. Additionally, the company claims that clicks from AI Overviews are of higher quality, leading to users spending more time on linked websites.

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