Google Reportedly Starts Manually Taking Down Search Responses by AI Overviews

Google is manually removing the inaccurate responses to search queries generated by its new AI-powered search tool – Google Overviews, according to a recent report. The search giant has taken note of the numerous cases surfacing on social media, such as recommending people apply glue on pizza to make cheese stick better. In response, it is reportedly scrambling to fix the brand-new tool that it introduced at its developer conference, the Google I/O 2024 on May 14.

AI Overview responses taken down

According to a report by The Verge, Google is manually turning off AI Overviews for web queries. In one of the reported instances, a user recently asked Google, “did any president ever have a ferrari”, to which it provided an accurate response, stating that “US President Donald Trump owned at least one Ferrari”.

However, it is now being reported that searching for the same query does not bring up an AI-generated response anymore. Instead, Google now reportedly mentions, “An AI Overview is not available for this search”. In an email to The Verge, Meghann Farnsworth, Communications Manager at Google emphasised that the company is “taking swift action” to remove certain AI Overview responses to queries.

Posts on social media platforms such as X and Threads featuring screenshots of inaccurate responses generated by AI Overviews have been surfacing. Although Farnsworth told The Verge that some of the responses have been “doctored or that we couldn’t reproduce”, instances of similar issues surfacing have become increasingly common, despite the responses carrying a “Generative AI is experimental” label.

AI Overviews – The problem

A few days ago, several cases came to light on social media platforms where Google’s AI Overviews provided inaccurate and unhinged responses to queries – a problem that is associated with AI hallucination.

On one occasion, a user reportedly turned to Google for a solution for “cheese not sticking to pizza”. In a bizarre response, AI Overviews suggested they “add ⅛ cup of non-toxic glue to the sauce to give it more tackiness”. The source of the response turned out to be a sarcastic Reddit comment from 11 years ago.

In another instance, it suggested that “eating at least one rock per day is recommended because rocks contain minerals and vitamins that are important for digestive health” – quoting geologists while taking reference from a satirical 2021 article by The Onion.

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