"Some odd, inaccurate or unhelpful AI Overviews certainly did show up."

Search Engine Hallucination

Google is at least partially admitting that its AI Overviews search feature is a hot mess.

The company's generative AI-enhanced search tool has been giving users incredibly dumb answers, confidently telling one user, for instance, to add "about 1/8 cup of non-toxic glue" to their pizza sauce to stop it from sliding off the pie. Other users were told to eat at least one rock a day or literally jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Now, the company has released a statement, admitting that "some odd, inaccurate or unhelpful AI Overviews certainly did show up." As a result, Google announced that it will limit some responses, especially when it detects "nonsensical queries that shouldn't show an AI Overview."

Google maintains that generative AI makes sense as part of its flagship feature — but given the dumpster fire its latest tool is already turning out to be, it still has a lot to prove.

"At the scale of the web, with billions of queries coming in every day, there are bound to be some oddities and errors,"  Google search head Liz Reid wrote in the blog post. "We’ll keep improving when and how we show AI Overviews and strengthening our protections, including for edge cases, and we’re very grateful for the ongoing feedback."

Sticking Power

Some of the observed issues have since been traced back to insincere "shitposts" of Reddit users, suggesting AI Overviews is drawing from some seriously dubious data for its output.

The company struck a $60 million deal with Reddit to train its AI on users' posts — and hilariously, the AI is now using Reddit posts to tell people to eat glue.

It's not just Google struggling to stuff generative AI into its products with abandon, either. We've already seen chatbots and related tools telling users to cheat on their wives, hallucinate plenty of information, miserably fail to summarize existing data, and make a complete mess of entire publications.

To be clear, this has been going on for well over a year, and with Google's latest high-profile blunder, it doesn't bode well for the future of the tech.

This time, however, is especially egregious considering the prominent position Google Search has held for several decades now. The tool still accounts for the vast majority of the global search engine market, but early signs point towards its competitors making major strides.

"We know that people trust Google Search to provide accurate information," Reid wrote. "We hold ourselves to a high standard, as do our users, so we expect and appreciate the feedback, and take it seriously."

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