Google Mulls Charging for Premium AI-Powered Search Results

Google Mulls Charging for Premium AI-Powered Search Results

Google is reportedly exploring the possibility of charging users for access to “premium” internet search results driven by artificial intelligence (AI), a recent report reveals.

According to sources, the tech behemoth is evaluating various strategies for leveraging AI technology, including integrating advanced search functionalities into its premium subscription offerings.

Under the proposed plans, Google’s primary search engine would remain freely accessible, with additional content reserved for paying subscribers, as disclosed by insiders to the Financial Times.

Even for subscribers, advertisements would continue to accompany search results, the report notes, highlighting the vast user base of over a billion people who utilise the search tool each month.

While Google already monetises certain features such as expanded storage and its “AI Premium” service, granting access to the new Gemini AI assistant in platforms like Gmail and Docs, this potential initiative would mark the first instance of placing core products behind a paywall.

The Financial Times obtained insights into these deliberations from three sources within Google, indicating ongoing efforts by engineers to develop enhanced AI tools. However, company executives are yet to finalize decisions regarding the introduction and timing of this feature.

Responding to queries, a spokesperson for Google informed Sky News, “We’re not working on or considering an ad-free search experience.” They reiterated Google’s commitment to continually enhancing subscription offerings with new premium capabilities and services.

Amidst fierce competition among tech firms in harnessing AI, Google’s strategies have drawn scrutiny, with some observers suggesting the company is grappling to keep pace with rivals like ChatGPT.

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Recent controversies surrounding Google’s AI applications include reports of restricting its AI chatbot Gemini from addressing election-related queries in certain regions due to concerns about disseminating misleading information. Additionally, in February, Google ceased the tool’s image generation function following complaints regarding “inaccurate” historical depictions of individuals.

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