HomeAlphabet’s Google Planning Paywall for AI Features on Search

Alphabet’s Google Planning Paywall for AI Features on Search

Alphabet has set sights on generating significant returns from its investments in artificial intelligence. Reports indicate that Google plans to start charging for new premium features powered by generative artificial intelligence. It will be the first time the tech giant has put its core product in search behind a paywall.

Google AI Paywall

Part of the plan could involve adding certain AI-powered search features to premium subscription services. Engineers are still developing the technology to enable the paywall service even though executives have not decided on its integration. Adding a paywall comes as AI threatens the company’s lucrative advertising business.

Early this year, Google added a premium tier to its Google One service, designed for people who want to use its most advanced Gemini chatbot. It also said Gemini to Workspace, its suite of online productivity apps that includes Gmail and Google Docs. Nevertheless, how the company will integrate AI-powered search into its paid-for services in different pricing tiers is still being determined.

Amid the paywall push, Google’s mainstream search engine will remain free, featuring ads that continue to appear alongside search results. Nevertheless, the company could charge a fee for people leveraging its premium AI search tools. It could also launch some aspects of the experimental AI-powered service to its free search engine as one way of enhancing user experience.

Charging for premium AI tools would mark a significant change from a company that has consistently offered various tools for free and focused on generating revenues through advertising as people use the tools. Last year, the tech giant generated $175 billion in revenue linked to its search engine.

In recent months, Alphabet has come under immense pressure on OpenAI’s unveiling ChatGPT, which threatens to rattle its search empire. The integration of ChatGPT in Microsoft’s Bing search engine prompted Google to unveil Bard in the race to counter the threat posed by ChatGPT integration in Bing.

AI Tools Search Threat

One thing about AI-powered chatbots is that they can offer quick and complete answers to many questions, threatening traditional search. Google has sought to counter the threat posed by the new tools by launching an AI-powered search service to keep users engaged on its search tool.

Google’s new AI-powered search tool can offer detailed answers to queries while presenting additional information and advertising links. Nevertheless, the tech giant has been reluctant to add new features to its Search Generative Experience. It has emerged that new search results powered by artificial intelligence are incredibly costly to serve compared to traditional searches. The new AI-powered search consumes lots of computing power and resources.

Analysts are already warning that Google’s lucrative search business could suffer with the integration of more AI-powered tools. That’s because AI-powered search tools offer more satisfactory answers to queries that no longer require people to click through to advertiser websites. Online publishers that depend on Google for web traffic will likely refrain from advertising on the network on traffic that is not being redirected to their websites.


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