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Google Scrambles to Fix AI After ‘Glue on Pizza’ Glitch

In the mind of Google’s AI Overviews, glue is a pizza ingredient.

Rocks are edible.

And smoking while pregnant is considered healthy.

If you’ve spent any time at all on social media in the last few days, you might have seen these wildly inaccurate results that apparently came from Google’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered search tool go viral. Those results are now disappearing — as The Verge reported Sunday (May 26) — as the tech giant scrambles to repair the problem.

A Google spokesperson told the news outlet that the company is “taking swift action” to remove certain Overview queries. 

“Many of the examples we’ve seen have been uncommon queries, and we’ve also seen examples that were doctored or that we couldn’t reproduce,” Google’s Meghann Farnsworth said in an email to The Verge. 

As that report noted, it’s an unusual situation, as Google has been testing Overviews since last May, with CEO Sundar Pichai saying the company handled more than a billion queries during the past year.

At the same time, the Verge added, Pichai has also said that Google has reduced the cost of delivering AI answers down by 80% over that same time, “driven by hardware, engineering and technical breakthroughs.” 

The report argued that it seems as if that sort of optimization might have happened too soon, before the technology was ready.

“A company once known for being at the cutting edge and shipping high-quality stuff is now known for low-quality output that’s getting meme’d,” an AI founder who asked to remain anonymous told The Verge.

Google debuted AI Overviews earlier this month, with these summaries now appearing frequently at the top of search results, in many cases replacing the traditional website links. 

“This shift aims to provide users faster access to information but could alter how businesses approach search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising,” PYMNTS wrote, noting that Google anticipates that the new feature to be part of the search experience for about 1 billion users worldwide by the end of the year.

As Google adds more AI-generated content to its search results, businesses may have to adapt their online strategies to stay visible and reach their target audiences, that report noted.

“Every company wants to go ‘upstream’ in the customer journey,” David Nicholson, chief research officer at The Futurum Group, an advisory firm, told PYMNTS. “Gemini now makes it easier for Google to capture online buyers into a closed market ecosystem. It has the potential to mirror the ‘Amazon Effect,’ where commerce becomes increasingly centralized.”

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