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  • Robert Farago

Google is Dead! Long Live Google!

Will Google's Search Generative Experience split the AI baby?

A rural friend just texted me. She’s leaving work early “to poison the entire place for tarantulas.” Wait! Tarantulas are your friend! They kill small pests. “How do I stop them coming into my garage?”

After a brief visit to YouTube, I asked Google’s AI app Bard for the eight-legged 411…

Here are some tips on how to stop tarantulas from getting into your garage:

  1. Remove any potential food sources. Tarantulas eat insects, so if you can remove any potential food sources from your garage, they will be less likely to be attracted to it. This includes things like piles of leaves, wood, or other debris.

  2. Seal up any cracks or holes. Tarantulas are very good at squeezing through small spaces, so it's important to seal up any cracks or holes in your garage walls, doors, or windows. You can use caulk or weatherstripping to do this.

  3. Keep your garage clean and dry. Tarantulas prefer dark, humid places, so keeping your garage clean and dry will make it less attractive to them.

  4. Use natural repellents. There are a number of natural repellents that can help to keep tarantulas away from your garage. These include peppermint oil, citrus oil, and cedarwood oil. You can diffuse these oils in your garage, or you can make a spray by mixing them with water and spraying it on surfaces.

  5. Call a professional pest control company. If you have a serious tarantula problem, you may need to call a professional pest control company. They will be able to identify the type of tarantula you have and recommend the best treatment options.

How great is that? More to the point, how great is that compared to a traditional Google search? Here’s the above-the-fold result for the same question:

And here’s the same result below the fold:

Think about this from the user’s perspective. I wanted the answer to a question. Bard delivered it in an instant without advertising. Google served-up a simplified version of the same info (a snippet), a bunch of related “People Also Ask” questions and advertiser-generated advice (as above).

If we accept Bard’s anti-arachnid text as accurate, Google’s new AI app wins walking away, in terms of content delivered, efficiency and a distinct and welcome lack of clutter.

That’s bad news for Earthkind, Bulwark Exterminating, Garage Transformer and the rest of the advertisers listed in the search engine’s 5,150,000 results.

Really, any advertiser not scraped for Google’s headline snippet is something of a loser. (A problem since 2014.) On Bard, it’s worse. Unless you ask for them, advertisers don’t exist. How they’re chosen is anyone’s guess.

What if you ask? Let’s assume my spider-averse amiga wants to hire a local pest control company to rid her garage of creatures (who called her space home millions of years before she arrived)? So… “Who’s the best pest control service near me?”

There’s a LOT more info further down the Google search page, including sponsored links, related searches and a pinned map for local companies. Here’s Bard’s reply:

Three – and only three – results with links and advice on how to choose a service provider (text continues below the image). As fans of my sales training posts will attest, choosing one of three contenders is a lot easier than wading through dozens of options.

If you’re a pest control company other than one of Bard’s three recommendations, you’re SOL. In fact, you should be pissed.

You created content to catch Google’s eye, paid for search engine optimization and maybe shelled-out some more moola for a sponsored link/prime position. Then Google launches a product that makes it possible, make that desirable not to use Google. An app where your business is invisible.

Given that Google exists because people pay for listings, why would the search engine behemoth create an app that more-or-less puts them out of the ad business?

The company asked itself the same thing. The result is Google’s new Search Generative Experience (SGE).

Will SGE save Google from cutting itself off at the knees revenue-wise? Given Google’s market domination (93.12% percent of the current global search biz), given that billions of users and millions of advertisers depend on Google, the short term answer is yes. In the medium term, uh-oh.

Bard, Chat GPT and the like are much better for non-commercial questions. These whistle-clean apps are well on their way to the billion users mark. Why would anyone perform a traditional Google search to, say, check tarantulas’ mating season? Bard’s ad-free reply delivers all you want or need to know:

Tarantulas typically breed during the late summer and early fall, when the weather is warm and humid. The exact breeding season varies depending on the species of tarantula, but it usually occurs between August and November in North America.

Not only does AI “search” pose an existential threat to advertisers, it’s on track to decimate one of search engine’s key providers: online journalists.

Check this from’s Will Google’s AI Plans Destroy the Media?

“Our content is being harvested and scraped and otherwise ingested to train AI engines,” said News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson at the INMA World Congress of News Media last week. “These are super-snippets containing all the effort and insight of great journalism but designed so the reader will never visit a journalism website, thus fatally undermining that journalism…
"From Google’s demos, what’s clear is less traffic will go to publishers. Less traffic means less of everything that keeps modern media companies afloat: advertising revenue, subscription conversions, e-commerce revenue."
“At the risk of overstating the potential consequences,” wrote Matt Novak at Forbes, Google’s search overhaul “will be like dropping a nuclear bomb on an online publishing industry that’s already struggling to survive.”

The article reckons AI’s “snapshots” (like Google’s snippets) will put the smaller news providers out of business. Soon. Ironically enough, that will limit the information AI’s large language models can harvest to answer questions. Not that the users will know.

Truth be told, the online news and information business was doomed the moment Chat GPT, Bard and its ilk hit the ‘net.

In the greatest example of copyright theft ever devised by the hand of man, AI programs scraped the entire web and paid content providers nothing in return. They stiffed the news biz, continue to stiff the news biz and show no signs of doing anything other than stiffing the news biz.

On the positive side – yes, there is one – AI tutors will educate the world to a previously inconceivable standard. Worldwide literacy will increase exponentially, creating a larger market for rational thought and personal perspectives, rather than corporate spin and AI blanditude.

That means Substack’s writer-to-reader template has a bright future. Says the guy with 34 free subscribers. And counting!

But if my experience starting The Truth About Cars and The Truth About Guns with zero page views is any guide, there will come a day when I can draw income from tapping these keys. When Google will once again list my articles on the front page of a search result. Or not.

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