Publishing AI Slop Is a Choice

From a New York Times story by Nico Grant, under the headline “Google’s A.I. Search Errors Cause a Furor Online”:

With each mishap, tech industry insiders have criticized the company for dropping the ball. But in interviews, financial analysts said Google needed to move quickly to keep up with its rivals, even if it meant growing pains.

Google “doesn’t have a choice right now,” Thomas Monteiro, a Google analyst at, said in an interview. “Companies need to move really fast, even if that includes skipping a few steps along the way. The user experience will just have to catch up.”

That quote is insane. There’s no reason Google had to enable this feature now. None. If their search monopoly has been losing share recently, it’s not because of rivals who are serving up AI-generated slop. It’s because even before this, Google’s search results quality was slipping in obvious ways. This is just making it worse. They’ve turned Google Search — the crown jewel of the company, arguably the greatest consumer product ever made — into the butt of jokes.

LLM-powered search results are a bauble. The trust Google has built with users over the last 25 years is the most valuable asset the company owns. Google most certainly does have a choice, and they’ve chosen to erode that trust just so they can avoid accusations that they’re “behind”.

Behind is where you want to be when those who are ahead are publishing nonsense.

Friday, 24 May 2024