The Impact of AI Technology on Search and Discovery: Publishing Pulse

2024-02-15

Sarah Clow

Sarah Clow

The Impact of AI Technology on Search and Discovery: Publishing Pulse
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Welcome to Publishing Pulse, your weekly source for industry updates in online publishing. Stay informed about the latest trends and breakthroughs in the ad ecosystem, content creation, SEO, AI technology, and monetization. 

If you prefer to listen to industry news, you can tune in to The Publisher Lab podcast. New episodes are released weekly on Thursday.

Microsoft Bing’s Incremental Rise Against Google Dominance

Over the past year, Microsoft Bing has slightly increased its search market share both in the U.S. and globally, although Google remains the dominant player in the search engine market. Despite introducing the new Bing, powered by ChatGPT for Search, there hasn’t been a significant shift in the search market landscape, prompting questions about the impact of generative AI on search engine competition.

According to StatCounter data comparing February 2023 to January 2024, Microsoft Bing’s U.S. search market share rose from 6.35% to 7.87%, and globally, it increased from 2.81% to 3.43%. Conversely, Google’s U.S. search market share declined from 88.96% to 87.46%; worldwide, it decreased from 93.37% to 91.47%.

The data indicates a marginal exchange of market share between Bing and Google in the U.S., with Google losing 1.5 percentage points while Bing gained less than a percentage point. Globally, Google lost nearly 2 percentage points, but Bing only gained a fraction of that. Despite Microsoft’s optimism about potential revenue gains from increased market share, Google has responded to the new Bing with its Search Generative Experience (SGE) and Gemini model, signaling ongoing innovation in search technology.

On The Publisher Lab, Tyler and Manny discuss how publishers can interpret shifts in market share between Bing and TikTok. Tyler notes that Bing’s market share, which he recalls being around 4.3% some years ago, has nearly doubled over the past 5 or 6 years.

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Listen to the full podcast episode here.

OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 to Introduce Watermarking for Image Provenance and Authenticity

OpenAI’s image generator DALL-E 3 is set to integrate watermarks into image metadata, aligning with standards advocated by the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA). These watermarks, visible in images generated through the ChatGPT website and the DALL-E 3 API, will feature both invisible metadata and a visible CR symbol, slated to be implemented for mobile users by February 12th.

The initiative aims to bolster the traceability and authenticity of AI-generated content, allowing users to verify image provenance through platforms like Content Credentials Verify. However, the watermarking solution is limited to still images, excluding videos or text. While OpenAI assures minimal impact on latency and image quality, the move underscores broader efforts within the industry to address the challenges of misinformation and establish trust in digital content.

Microsoft Copilot Unveils New Features for Enhanced User Experience and Accessibility

Microsoft Copilot has unveiled a series of enhancements aimed at streamlining user experience and expanding its capabilities. Among the updates is a revamped homepage design, which offers a more intuitive navigation experience by showcasing a carousel of suggested prompts to highlight the platform’s functionalities. One notable addition is the integration of inline editing for AI-generated images directly within Copilot, eliminating the need for external design programs. This feature grants users convenient one-click access to design tools, enabling them to customize images effortlessly by adjusting colors, blurring backgrounds, and applying filter effects. Additionally, Copilot now boasts AI-generated video highlights with timestamps, facilitating easy navigation to specific segments within videos, and is compatible with popular platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.

These updates represent Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to enhance Copilot’s accessibility and usability, catering to users in various English-speaking regions, including the U.S., UK, Australia, India, and New Zealand. Despite the advancements, Copilot remains free to use and supports multiple web browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Moreover, users can conveniently access Copilot’s features on mobile devices by downloading the corresponding app from the iOS or Android platforms, further extending its accessibility and utility across different devices and operating systems.

OpenAI Introduces Memory Feature for ChatGPT

OpenAI is introducing a memory feature for ChatGPT, enhancing the chatbot’s ability to remember user preferences and personalize responses. This significant update allows ChatGPT to store information about individual users’ preferences and tailor its interactions accordingly, leading to a more engaging and customized user experience.

Initially available to a limited number of free and paid ChatGPT Plus subscribers, the memory feature enables users to give custom instructions, view stored memories, and control the storage and deletion of personal data. OpenAI emphasizes user privacy and safety, allowing users to opt in or out of the memory feature and providing control over the use of their feedback for model training. This update reflects OpenAI’s commitment to improving user satisfaction and addressing privacy concerns in AI-driven interactions.

The Clash Between Big AI and Small AI in Shaping the Future of Artificial Intelligence

The future of AI development is being shaped by contrasting paradigms known as “Big AI” and “small AI,” each presenting distinct visions for the evolution of artificial intelligence. “Big AI” aims to create expansive digital minds, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, to achieve artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Conversely, proponents of “small AI” advocate for deploying specialized AI models tailored for specific tasks or domains, foreseeing more efficient outcomes than pursuing AGI. This divide reflects broader trends in the tech industry, where there’s a tension between scaling up to reach larger audiences and the movement towards miniaturization and personalization, as evidenced by the widespread use of powerful smartphones today.

The ongoing debate among experts revolves around the effectiveness and potential risks associated with these differing approaches, with regulatory decisions from Washington poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future trajectory of AI development. While looser regulations may favor the proliferation of small AI, tighter regulations could bolster the development of big AI. Ultimately, the resolution of this conflict will hinge not only on technological advancements but also on the regulatory frameworks governing AI development and deployment, with significant implications for industry dynamics and societal impacts.

Google Faces Jury Trial Over Alleged Digital Advertising Dominance Abuse

Google is gearing up for a jury trial on September 9, facing accusations of abusing its dominance in digital advertising technology, as brought forward by the U.S. Justice Department and a group of states. Denying the allegations, Google warns that a successful lawsuit could stifle innovation, increase advertising costs, and hinder the growth of small businesses and publishers. The trial’s outcome could potentially lead to significant changes in Google’s operations, impacting publishers, advertisers, and users. However, the exact repercussions remain uncertain, with Google pledging to vigorously defend its services, emphasizing their benefits to the digital ecosystem. Despite logistical challenges postponing the trial from July to September, the Justice Department remains committed to challenging Google’s market power abuse, highlighting its alleged detrimental effects on the open internet and advertising costs. This trial is part of a broader legal landscape for Google, including upcoming proceedings in Texas and ongoing cases in Washington, D.C., regarding its dominance in web search.

TikTok Promotes Search Feature with Home Screen Shortcut Prompt

TikTok has launched a new interstitial prompt urging users to add a shortcut to the platform’s search page on their device home screens, as part of its ongoing efforts to highlight the significance of its search feature, especially among Gen Z users. With TikTok increasingly becoming a go-to platform for information discovery, the initiative aims to underscore that TikTok serves as an entertainment hub and a valuable tool for finding information, products, and services.

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Image Source: Search Engine Land

As TikTok’s user base continues to grow, boasting 170 million active users in the U.S. and nearly 2 billion globally, enhancing the search functionality is strategically crucial for better serving its diverse audience. In China, where TikTok is known as “Douyin,” the robust search feature enables users to locate local businesses and restaurants and even order food directly from the app, showcasing the potential for expanded search capabilities worldwide on TikTok.

Meta Introduces Labels for AI-Generated Images on Facebook and Instagram

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced plans to label images created by AI on its platforms. This decision comes in response to the increasing popularity of AI image-generation tools and the need to distinguish between human-made and AI-created content. Meta’s strategy involves implementing visible markers, invisible watermarks, and embedded metadata to differentiate AI-generated images.

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Image Source: Search Engine Journal

Users will be required to disclose when media is generated by AI, aligning with recommendations from the Partnership on AI. Over the next year, Meta will analyze user engagement with labeled AI content to shape its long-term approach and leverage detection tools to label AI content from other providers. This move underscores the importance of authenticity and transparency in AI image creation for businesses and social media marketers, emphasizing the need to understand audience preferences, monitor user sentiment, and stay informed about synthetic media detection tools and standards.

Sarah Clow

Written By: Sarah Clow

Sarah is an experienced publishing industry leader responsible for organizing independent, publisher-only events; including some of the largest ever held at Google. Sarah is Ezoic's Director of Marketing.

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