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Google's AI Overviews relying much less on Reddit, new data suggests (sorry to any pizza gluers)

After recommending people put glue on pizza, Google has rightly toned down Reddit's influence on AI search results.

Published onJune 20, 2024

Google or Google Search logo on smartphone stock photo (6)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Third-party data strongly suggests Google has toned down Reddit’s influence on search results that use AI Overviews.
  • This change comes from high-profile, outrageously terrible AI Overviews results that were likely lifted from Reddit.
  • Elsewhere, Google appears to have significantly dropped the number of delivered AI Overview results, in general.

At Google I/O 2024, the company rolled out the public version of its AI-based search functionality in Google Search. Previously known as Search Generative Experience (SGE) and now known as AI Overviews, it was immediately clear at the event that Google thought this was the future of Search, by far its most important (and most lucrative) product.

However, soon after AI Overviews went live, people started to notice some truly bizarre — and, in some cases, dangerous — AI Overview results. Putting glue on pizza to prevent toppings from sliding off, eating a few small rocks a day, and drinking your own urine were just some of these results.

Interestingly, some of the wacky responses were almost certainly caused by the AI Overviews system pulling information from Reddit posts. The pizza glue one comes from an 11-year-old Reddit post, for example.

After these ridiculous responses went viral, Google apologized and promised to refine the system further. Today, we have some data that suggests one of the biggest changes Google might have made is to simply rely less on Reddit.

According to search engine optimization (SEO) platform SERanking (via Search Engine Land), Reddit is no longer a top-ten source for AI Overviews information. In an analysis of 100,000 keywords, SERanking found the top five sources for results were Runners World, Healthline, LinkedIn, RunRepeat, and Wikipedia. It isn’t clear where Reddit now falls in the ranking, but SERanking affirms it was in the top ten at some point in the past.

It also isn’t clear where other dubious sources for information now fall on the list. The suggestion to eat a few small rocks a day almost certainly comes from The Onion, probably the world’s most famous satirical news site. The fact that AI Overviews was even pulling information from this “source” at all is a good indicator of just how trustworthy one should find the results it gives.

This whole situation has seemingly resulted in Google pushing AI Overviews at a far slower rate than it did immediately after I/O. Similar SEO firm SEOClarity says that AI Overview results popped up only in 7.6% of its tested searches, down from 17.4% observed between May 14 (Google I/O) and May 30.

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