Google Testing AI Tool That Finds & Rewrites Quality Content

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Google is compensating small-scale publishers to employ their AI platform in reworking content from news websites flagged by Google’s platform for widespread content duplication. Twitter users are expressing discontent over this practice.

According to a report behind a paywall on AdWeek, Google is piloting a beta version of a tool that necessitates participating publishers to generate a set quantity of articles daily to qualify for payment.

These smaller publishers utilize a tool that presents AI-selected content, enabling them to produce material essentially “free of charge.”

Why Google’s New Tool Is Problematic

It’s customary for news organizations to report on stories broken by others, adding their own perspective if handled by skilled journalists; it’s part of the industry’s practice.

However, Google’s tool seems to mimic a method known as article spinning, a programmatic approach to plagiarizing content. Article spinning typically involves using website feeds to input content from other sources, then rewriting it through automated processes, often by substituting words with synonyms. AI, however, can spin content with more sophistication, summarizing it in a different style by replacing entire sentences and paragraphs while retaining the original meaning.

What sets this tool apart is that it’s being tested directly by Google itself. This raises concerns not only because Google serves as the primary gatekeeper for online content, but also because the tool effectively targets specific news organizations to have their content spun by small independent publishers.

On one hand, this could be viewed positively as it might generate inbound links to the original publisher of the news — essentially, free publicity. That could be considered a win-win scenario, right?

The benefit of links to news content is minimal considering its short shelf life, typically lasting around 48 hours at most. News publishing operates on a relentless cycle, constantly churning out content to sustain the business. This perpetual process is highly vulnerable to wholesale content dilution.

At the core of the issue with Google’s AI tool lies the devaluation of the original content produced by professional journalists, which Google often claims to prioritize for publication. This makes Google’s AI tool not just hypocritical, but arguably cynical. On one hand, Google promotes the creation of high-quality content while on the other hand, it undermines it through automated content replication.

An army of publishers systematically copying every news article poses a significant threat to the original publisher. This is particularly problematic if their content gets overshadowed by parasitic AI in Google News, search results, and user preference for local news publishers who republish news from larger outlets.

Reaction To Google’s AI News Tool

Technology journalist Brian Merchant, known for his contributions to The Atlantic and his authored book, recently expressed discontent on Twitter, garnering unanimous agreement. In his tweet, Merchant criticized Google’s move to incentivize the creation of AI-generated content, dubbing it as the commencement of a “nightmare.” He particularly admonished news outlets that have embraced this arrangement, especially those publishing AI-generated articles without proper disclaimers, urging them to feel a profound sense of shame.

Following up on his initial critique, Merchant highlighted the pitfalls of Google’s AI tool for smaller news sites. He emphasized the crucial lesson gleaned from the past decade in media: the refusal to settle for the crumbs offered by big tech, as such concessions ultimately lead to the demise of the industry. In a rhetorical question, he questioned the rationale behind participating in the automation of one’s own profession, particularly for a meager compensation of approximately $30,000 annually.

Brian Merchant retweeted a remark from fellow technology journalist Alex Kantrow, expressing sadness over Google’s direction, questioning if this aligns with the vision for the internet. Another Twitter user contributed to the discourse, attributing Google’s motives to unchecked profit-seeking at the expense of employees and the broader American populace.

In a poignant analogy, an individual associated with Microsoft invoked the concept of “autophagy,” likening the situation to an organism consuming itself when starved. She emphasized the potential decline in news quality and its adverse impact on search functionality, warning of the serious threat posed by deteriorating information standards, which seems to be overlooked by many.

The Future Of Content

This issue extends beyond the realm of news—it affects anyone generating income through online content creation. The tools developed for news publications can readily be repurposed for various other niches such as product reviews, culinary recipes, entertainment, and virtually any subject matter where affiliates produce content.

What are your thoughts on Google’s latest tool? Do you believe it will empower smaller publishers to compete with larger platforms, or is it merely signaling the beginning of self-consumption within the online publishing ecosystem?

Original news from SearchEngineJournal