Google Takes the Next Step in Its A.I. Evolution

Last May, Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, said that the company would use artificial intelligence to reimagine all of its products.

But because new generative A.I. technology presented risks, like spreading false information, Google was cautious about applying the technology to its search engine, which is used by more than two billion people and was responsible for $175 billion in revenue last year.

On Tuesday, at Google’s annual conference in Mountain View, Calif., Mr. Pichai showed how the company’s aggressive work on A.I. had finally trickled into the search engine. Starting this week, he said, U.S. users will see a feature, A.I. Overviews, that generates information summaries above traditional search results. By the end of the year, more than a billion people will have access to the technology.

A.I. Overviews is likely to heighten concerns that web publishers will see less traffic from Google Search, putting more pressure on an industry that has reeled from rifts with other tech platforms. On Google, users will see longer summaries about a topic, which could reduce the need to go to another website — though Google downplayed those concerns.

“The links included in A.I. Overviews get more clicks” from users than if they were presented as traditional search results, Liz Reid, Google’s vice president of search, wrote in a blog post. “We’ll continue to focus on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators.”

The company also unveiled a host of other initiatives — including a lightweight A.I. model, new chips and so-called agents that help users perform tasks — in an effort to gain the upper hand in an A.I. slugfest with Microsoft and OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT.

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