Soon You Might Have to Pay to Access Google’s AI Search Features

Google Search Generative AI
In Short
  • Google announced its SGE (Search Generative Experience) last year.
  • It integrated generative AI within Google Search, allowing users to get an AI summary of their query at the top.
  • Now, a new report suggests that this could become premium soon, with users having to pay $19.99/month.

Last year, with SGE (Search Generative Experience), Google announced that it was supercharging its Search with Generative AI. By heading over to Google Search Labs and opting in, you can give this feature a try. The feature offers a quick rundown or summary of whatever you have searched for. It’s to make Google Search results easy for you and cut down on the hassle of having to dig deeper. While these AI overviews are still experimental, Google may be planning to move them to a paid tier already.

According to a Financial Times report, the tech giant is, “looking at options including adding certain AI-powered search features to its premium subscription services.” The price? You will have to pay the $19.99/month cost for the Google One AI Premium plan. This particular plan gives you access to Gemini Advanced, which uses Google’s top-of-the-line Gemini Ultra model.

Google Search Generative AI at work

Those on the regular ad-supported version of Google Search won’t see this option pop up in the first place, the report suggests. FT derived these bits of information from anonymous insiders. I mean, we probably saw it coming and aren’t too surprised, right?

Also, do note that even if you pay the price, Google Search will not become ad-free, because it can’t afford to. Google’s ad revenue is what lays down the foundation for the tech giant to stand on its two feet. So, by the end of the day, those AI features are what you are getting extra. However, don’t worry, as you can make use of the regular Gemini for free.

This move by Google is probably to make up for what the regular ads can’t cover. AI searches are expensive and they can really cut into the profits, as a Reuters report from last year suggests. The report also reveals how standard searches cost 10 times less than that of a query passed through an AI model like Gemini. All in all, we are talking in billions here.

While I understand Google trying to butt heads with the likes of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, I can’t help but be concerned. The main problem lies with the fact that is the first time such a core integrated feature is being blocked by a paywall. And that, in my opinion, can maybe compromise the future of Google Search’s integrity.

What if we are nearing a future where accurate information in itself is locked behind a paywall? What if, in the name of AI, we are deprived of features that make life easier? I mean, wasn’t AI supposed to do just that? With Google’s 26th anniversary not being too far away, I certainly hope it doesn’t have more such shocking news up its sleeves.

What are your thoughts about it? Would you pay the premium price for such core AI features that were meant to be free in the first place? Let me know in the comments down below.

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