Google Might Start Charging For AI-Enhanced Search Features – Entrepreneur

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Google is looking into a variety of options to monetize its premium AI-powered search features, according to a Wednesday report from Financial Times that cited people familiar with the matter.

One proposal included folding AI-powered search features into Google’s existing premium subscription.

“AI search is more expensive to compute than Google’s traditional search processes,” Heather Dawe, chief data scientist at the digital transformation consultancy UST, told The Guardian. “So in charging for AI search, Google will be seeking to at least recoup these costs.”

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We tried out the core Google AI search experience, which is currently being tried in beta for select users. The AI generates an answer or response to a search query, including links to sources in its response.

Regular search results populate underneath the AI chatbot’s answer.

Credit: Entrepreneur

This approach combines the familiar Google search interface with the results that an AI chatbot like Gemini AI or ChatGPT would give in response to the same query.

It didn’t require anything extra, like logging into an external application, making it intuitive for even a non-AI-attuned individual to use it.

Google processes 5.9 million searches per minute, according to Semrush, and about 1.5 billion people are using AI chatbots, as per a Tidio survey.

Recent AI search features released by Google include Circle (or highlight or scribble) to Search, which allows users to circle anything on their Android screen, including parts of an image. Google’s AI kicks in to perform a search on the object or item, across apps like Calendar and Maps.

A wall is displaying Google’s new AI feature, Circle to Search, in Barcelona, Spain, on March 25, 2024. (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Google customers who want to use the company’s Gemini AI assistant in Gmail, Docs, or other Google services, already have to sign up for the Google One AI Premium subscription, which costs $20 per month.

Related: Is Browsing Chrome in Incognito Mode Really Private?

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