Ex-Google CEO Implies AI Search Will Have No Links

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In an interview, Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, articulated that Google’s mission transcends merely presenting blue links; rather, it’s about organizing the vast expanse of global information. Schmidt’s pragmatic stance hints at a future where websites might become less essential, and advertising could become even more impactful.

Answers Without Links Is A Good User Experience?

The former CEO’s vision for Google’s future appears to contrast with statements from Google’s current CEO, who emphasizes the continued coexistence of search and the web. Similarly, Danny Sullivan has reiterated the importance of a thriving web ecosystem to Google.

Google’s past actions align with Eric Schmidt’s predictions, reflecting how the company has historically ranked websites.

In the early days of the internet, navigation wasn’t solely reliant on search engines; curated web directories acted as initial points for users to discover information, traversing a hyperlinked internet by clicking from link to link. The prevailing notion was that hyperlinks were the primary means for users to access information.

Google Search not only ranked webpages from directories but also hosted its own version of DMOZ, an open-source web directory curated by thousands of volunteers, akin to how Wikipedia is managed today.

However, a pivotal moment arrived when Google ceased ranking directories. The rationale provided was centered on enhancing user experience by presenting direct answers rather than links to pages with additional links. This transition likely has documentation archived somewhere on the WebmasterWorld forum, as it occurred quite some time ago.

Additionally, Google’s evolution includes providing direct answers for various queries such as flight tracking, package tracking, stock quotes, and time and weather information, all of which require no external links for access.

Example Of An Answer Without Links

Eric Schmidt’s statement about Google utilizing AI to provide answers aligns with Google’s core principle that delivering accurate answers directly satisfies user queries effectively. What sets this era apart from the past is AI’s capability, now largely unlocked, to present answers without relying on external website links. Hence, it’s plausible for Google to prioritize answer delivery as a positive user experience, building on previous successful approaches.

Schmidt further suggests that AI is not receiving the attention it deserves; instead of being overhyped, it’s actually being underestimated.

He expressed, “I hate to break it to you, but I believe this subject is actually underhyped, not overhyped. The emergence of non-human intelligence is a significant development for our world. It’s not just on the horizon; it’s already here, and it’s on the brink of major breakthroughs. This evolution occurs progressively. What I’m emphasizing is that we’re witnessing the inception of future reasoning, human interaction, research methodologies, and planning strategies, all unfolding before us.

There’s a concept known as ‘infinite context windows,’ akin to possessing an infinite short-term memory, a capability I certainly lack. This concept entails continuously feeding information into a system that learns and adapts continuously.”

Eric Schmidt On The Future Of Search

The interviewer inquired Schmidt about a prospective scenario wherein AI furnishes responses devoid of web links to sources.

The question posed by the interviewer was:

“In a scenario where AI delivers answers directly, without directing you to various sources to find them yourself… what implications does this hold?”

Eric Schmidt responded:

“It’s crucial to grasp that Google transcends mere blue links; it’s fundamentally about structuring the world’s information. And what better catalyst for this task than the advent of AI.

Do you believe there’s potential for monetization? Absolutely.”

Will Answers Without Links Happen?

It’s worth noting that Eric Schmidt (LinkedIn profile) hasn’t held the positions of CEO at Google or Executive Chairman & Technical Advisor at Alphabet for four years. Therefore, his viewpoints might not align with the current perspectives within Google.

However, it’s not entirely improbable to consider that he might be articulating what individuals within Google cannot officially address.

Based on the latest information available, Google Search is expected to persist with links. Nonetheless, Google (along with other companies like Apple) is progressing with AI assistants on mobile devices capable of answering queries and executing tasks.

Original news from SearchEngineJournal