Google and Microsoft are Already Testing Ads in AI Overview and Copilot

google displays ads in ai overview
In Short
  • Google on its blog says that "people find the ads appearing above and below the AI-generated overview helpful".
  • The company is initially testing ads in the US, which will be widely rolled out to users globally later.
  • Microsoft is also adding ads as part of the generated response in Copilot.

Within a week of the AI Overview rollout in the US, Google has started testing ads in AI-generated summaries on the search page. Google on its blog says “In early testing, we’ve heard that people find the ads appearing above and below the AI-generated overview helpful.” I am not sure where Google is getting this feedback. Instead, users are finding ways to disable AI Overview in Google Search.

ads displayed in google ai overview
Image Courtesy: Google

AI Overviews by Google have not been received well, and users are clamoring to bring back blue links on the search page. Google’s search community page is filled with user queries complaining about AI results in Google Search. So far, we have seen Google’s AI Overview spouting incorrect and sometimes dangerous information on top of the search results.

Google says that ads will start appearing in the US first and then will be rolled out to other regions. Ads will be clearly labeled as “Sponsored”. In one of the examples, Google shows relevant product ads below the AI Overview results. We don’t know if Google will integrate ads into the responses generated by AI Overview.

Microsoft is also testing ads in the Copilot app. An X user shared that Copilot recommended nine software solutions for data analysis, out of which three were ads and they were generated as part of the response. We have not heard an official announcement from Microsoft in this regard, but the testing seems to be underway. I tried to reproduce the same results, but Copilot didn’t display any ads.

Overall, it appears ads are going to be part of the whole AI experience on the web and users should be prepared for this shift. What is your opinion on the decision by Google and Microsoft to display ads in AI responses? Tell us in the comments below.

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