Monday, April 22, 2024

Google may lock AI search results behind a paywall

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AI search

Aa a company synonymous with search and a love of AI, it is little surprise that Google is combining the two. But people familiar with the company’s plans suggest that AI-powered search features could have a price tag attached to them.

The move would be a first for Google as the company has never charged for any search product, and it could be a sign that ads are simply not bringing in enough money. It is something that has been described as a big change to its business model, but it is not clear if this is a sign of further search-related charges to come.

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The news comes courtesy of the Financial Times, whose sources say that Google is looking to paywall some of its search products, including premium content generated by artificial intelligence.

At the moment, it seems that a final decision is yet to be taken about charging for AI search results, but it would represent a worrying precedent if it does come to be.

In addition to ad revenue being insufficient, the cost of AI research and development, as well as costs associated with just using the technology, could be to blame for Google considering introducing charges.

Contacted by the BBC for comment, Google issued a statement saying that it is “not working on or considering an ad-free search experience”. It is not clear whether this is a direct contradiction of the Financial Times report, or an indication that AI is seen as being an entirely separate entity. The statement continues:

As we’ve done many times before, we’ll continue to build new premium capabilities and services to enhance our subscription offerings across Google. We don’t have anything to announce right now.

Image credit: [email protected] / depositphotos

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