Pixels + Points 05 | Google FAIL: Google scales back AI after embarrassment & hit by leaked documents

With Matt Nelsen, Susie Brown;

In episode 05 of Pixels and Points, Susie Brown and Matt Nelson discuss the challenges Google faces with its AI-powered search, highlighting several humorous and problematic examples of misinformation. They examine the recent issues Google has encountered, such as incorrect answers about rock consumption and inappropriate responses about U.S. presidents. The conversation also touches on the leaked details of Google’s search algorithm, revealing how it affects small publishers and SEO strategies. Finally, they talk about the implications for their clients, emphasizing the need to stay updated with Google’s evolving guidelines and maintaining high-quality content.




Susie: Hi and welcome back to Pixels in Points. I’m Susie Brown with Redroc, I’m a media buyer planner here and with me today as always is Matt.

Matt: Hi, I’m Matt Nelsen, the digital media director here at Redroc.

Susie: Today I brought an article that’s a little follow-up from what we talked about two weeks ago, Google’s rollout using AI for online search. This article titled “Gluing Pizza or Eating Rocks”shows some examples of how it’s been working in real-time. Kind of looks like some things are not going so smoothly, and social media lit up in the past week with all different kinds of accounts posting jokes because they would put in different queries, and I can scroll to some of them right now.

Matt: I mean, we knew this was going to happen? Like they had an issue with Gemini and now they’re having the same one with this. It’s just because the AI is just pulling information out of random websites.

Susie: And they can pull it out of anywhere, from parody sites like The Onion or any Reddit troll. So here’s some examples that I thought were pretty funny. One of them was, “How many rocks shall I eat?” And AI said, “Uh, at least one small rock per day is how many you should be eating,” um, and that they’re a vital source of minerals and vitamins, important to digestive health. So obviously, that is not the correct information. Yes, go eat some geodes…

Matt: Yeah, exactly. And then here we go is another query, “Cheese not sticking to pizza,” and it said, “Cheese can slide off pizza for a number of reasons, including too much sauce, too much cheese, thickened sauce,” and they said that maybe we should try, um, adding about an eighth a cup of non-toxic glue to the sauce. It’ll give it more tackiness, yummy, yep, always delicious.

Susie: And then here’s one that’s a little problematic. The query, “How many Muslim presidents has the United States had?” And the answer is one Muslim president, and that would be Barack Hussein Obama. So, again, more problematic content, obviously misinformation, not a good look for Google having this out there and having their name on it.

Matt: They’ve got to fix this. But I mean, how do you fix it is the question? It goes back to like the fundamental problem of ChatGPT or any kind of AI, you can get the information from anywhere on the internet. So until that’s regulated, this is what’s out there. We’ll probably see the answers get scaled back a little bit and they’ll slowly come back, I think.

Susie: It’s fun times right now, very interesting. But I think it makes a lot more sense how Bing has it set up differently when you search, right? You’re actually opting in, “I want the AI information,” so you can take that with a grain of salt, versus this is just all right in your feed. I know it looks a little different, but it’s just all right there, so easy to get misinformation and get confused.

Matt: As a parent, I kind of see the thing where the kid will do a Google search and they’ll write a report, and they’ll say, “Mom, can you read it real quick?” And you’ll read it and be like, “Uh, Barack Obama is not a Muslim. Where are you getting this information?”And like, “It’s on Google, they told me.” And then it’s like, no, no, no, you can’t trust everything you find online. So, I mean, it’s always been that way, but I think we’ll see a backlash against that, I think.

Susie: Do you want to move on to the other Google news that happened thing? We’ve got lots of Google to talk about today.

Matt: The big news that happened over the past week was that Google’s algorithm leaked, and has contradicted and affirmed some things that some people believed about how your ranking shows up. And this comes after, about I think in March, they had an update that was called The Helpful Content update that hurts small Publishers and everything like that.

Susie: It’s going to be interesting how this SEO works because the leak was a lot of inside information, and it wasn’t easy to read.

Matt: I had to read what other people’s takes on it, but it was basically telling people how some of Google does its searching ranking algorithm, it pulls from click-through rates to your site and how much information is on your site, to what kind of information is on your site, whether it’s good or not. And that kind of pulls from The Helpful Content update that they had sent out in March where it was devastating to some smaller Publishers and gave credence to larger Publishers that have a lot of content because it was trying to get rid of junk information places, people that just farm content.

Susie: Like on AI, they’ll put fake content on their website just to get people to click through and click and see, it’s those sites that I’m sure everybody’s recognized that have different ads as soon as you click on, and you’re like this is not where I wanted to be.

Matt:  So that was their point, and the problem with this is that with all of this information that’s coming out, it’s going to make it easier for those bad actors to try to do that again. They just have now they have a leg up to figure out, okay, so if I do this and I do this and I only limit myself to three blogs about this topic and I run a video then I’ll rank higher than somebody else. So it will help the bad actors more than it’s going to help good people that are just trying to get their website to have, find their accurate audience. And with all of this, with all this information, a lot of people see that Google’s going to start pushing heavier and heavier on larger platforms that have larger amounts of data that are proven to be accurate like information.

Susie: So if you’re a small… if you’re just starting out and you’re trying to start small like news platform, it’s going to be even more of a struggle for you to get any kind of Google results, you will have to build a reputation and trust before Google will recognize you.

Matt: Yeah, it was newer websites are thrown into what’s called a sandbox until they start ranking on search. So it’s going to be harder and harder for new people to get in as, as we move along, and just trying to get any kind of SEO put in you’re going to have to go through all these steps that Google search algorithm has placed. And I wouldn’t be surprised over the next six months that Google changes even more stuff up to make it even harder for, you know, fake websites.

Susie: It sounds like kind of like in a nutshell like what got leaked was their rule book, right? Their playbook. So now if everybody has the playbook, that’s one of Google’s most important things is their secrets and how they’re operating. So obviously once you know the rules, you can work around them.

Matt: I just see it getting more difficult for smaller publishers to get on and get their content seen too, as because it’s they’re going to make it harder for fake publishers that are just click-driven and trying to get advertising budget and ad revenue.

Susie: How do you think it’s going to affect our strategy for our clients?

Matt: We’ll definitely be paying attention to this, knowing that we sit in the sandbox for a little bit after you get indexed and searched, and knowing not all your site will be indexed. That goes back to what people assumed from the very beginning was when Google first started, was that it would just read the title of your page. And so that’s why you would have all these meta tags in it to if someone searched it. But it’s indexing the whole page, but they were seeing that not all the pages would get indexed. Which pages do you need to make sure that what you’re trying to get people to search on are the right ones to have the right information on? And that’s some of the data that’s going to be coming out that we’re going to be using for our clients.

Susie: So just got to stay on top of it with the new changes, but as we know, Google’s not going to tell us what their changes are.

Matt: They’re going to their score to try to keep your website score up. So that’s what we’re trying to do.

Susie:  Very interesting. And I’m sure next week it’ll be a whole another slew of different articles and information on Google.

About the Hosts

MATT NELSEN is the Media Director at Redroc Austin. He is a digital media expert with over 20 years of agency experience negotiating digital, OTT, digital audio; focusing on building partnerships with vendors and efficiencies for clients.

SUSIE BROWN is the Media Buyer/Planner at Redroc Austin. She is a traditional media expert with over 20 years of agency experience negotiating local spot broadcast, cable, OTT, radio and digital audio; focusing on building partnerships with vendors and efficiencies for clients.

Pixels + Points 05 | Google FAIL: Google scales back AI after embarrassment & hit by leaked documents

Episode 05 of Pixels and Points we discuss the challenges Google faces with its AI-powered search, highlighting several humorous and problematic examples of misinformation.

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