Jason Koebler, reporting for 404 Media:

The complete destruction of Google Search via forced AI adoption and the carnage it is wreaking on the internet is deeply depressing, but there are bright spots. For example, as the prophecy foretold, we are learning exactly what Google is paying Reddit $60 million annually for. And that is to confidently serve its customers ideas like, to make cheese stick on a pizza, “you can also add about 1/8 cup of non-toxic glue” to pizza sauce, which comes directly from the mind of a Reddit user who calls themselves “Fucksmith” and posted about putting glue on pizza 11 years ago.

Here is what I wrote about Google’s artificial intelligence right after the company’s I/O conference earlier in May:

The summaries are also prone to making mistakes and fabricating information, even though they’re placed front-and-center in the usually reliable Google Search interface. This is extremely dangerous: Google users are accustomed to reliable, correct answers appearing in Google Search and might not be able to distinguish between the new AI-generated summaries and the old content snippets, which remain below the Gemini blurb. No matter how many disclaimers Google adds, I think it is still too early to add this feature to a product used by billions. I am not entirely pessimistic about the concept of AI summaries in search — I actually think this is the best use case for generative artificial intelligence — but in its current state, it is best to leave this as a beta feature for savvy or curious users to enable for themselves.

Google in a statement to The Verge claimed that these incidents are simply squabbles for nothing and that they are isolated and appear only in results for uncommon queries. (Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, also said the same in an interview with Nilay Patel, The Verge’s editor in chief, although in a slightly backhanded way.) Meghann Farnsworth, a spokesperson for Google, said the company believes the mistakes come from “generally very uncommon queries” when time and time again that theory has been proven false. Generative artificial intelligence is prone to making mistakes due to the way that large language models — the technology that powers generative AI — are made. Google knows it cannot solve that problem singlehandedly without further research, so it labels AI-generated blurbs at the top of Google search results as “experimental.”

Google’s mission when it announced that it would be bringing AI search summaries to all U.S. users by the end of the year was not to improve search for anyone — it was to motion to shareholders that the company’s AI prowess hasn’t been diminished by OpenAI, its chief rival. All press might be good press, but I truly don’t think this many incidents of Google’s AI flubbing the most basic of tests is very good for the company’s image. Google is known for being reputable and trustworthy, and it has shattered that reputation it so painstakingly created for itself in just a matter of weeks. The public’s perception of Google, and in particular, Google Search, has already been in a steady decline for the past few years, and the findings of people from all over the internet over the past week have further regimented the idea that Google’s main product is no longer as useful or capable as it once was.

These are not isolated incidents, and whenever representatives for Google have been confronted with that fact, they have never once tried to digest it and make improvements, as any sane, fast-moving company with a clear and effective hierarchical organizational structure would. Google does not have effective leadership — proven by Pichai’s nonsensical answer to Patel — so it is instead effectively deflecting the blame and chastising the users for typing in “uncommon queries.” Google itself has boasted about how thousands of new, never-seen-before queries are typed into Google each day, but now it is unable to effectively manage its star, most popular product like how it did once upon a time. Google Search is not dying — Bing and DuckDuckGo had an outage on Thursday and hardly anyone noticed — but it is suffering from incompetent leadership.

For now, Google needs to take the financial and perhaps emotional hit and pull search summaries from the public’s view, because recommending people eat glue is beyond ridiculous. And I think the company needs a fundamental reworking of its organizational structure to address fundamental setbacks and issues that are preventing employees from voicing their concerns. The most employees have been able to do is add a “Web” filter to Google Search for users to be able to view just blue links with no AI cruft. There is no more quality control at Google — just like a Silicon Valley start-up — and there is also no fast-paced innovation, unlike a Silicon Valley start-up. Google is now borrowing the worst limitations from small companies and combining them with the operational headaches of running a large multinational corporation. That can only be attributed to ineffective leadership.