Google AI Experiment Gone Wrong

The Risks of Search Generative Experience (SGE): Google’s AI Experiment Gone Wrong

Google’s new AI, “Search Generative Experience (SGE),” proved not to be a safe search engine as it resulted in malware and spammy links. Some of them were very dangerous and needed to be stopped instantly. Google wants to empower search results using the unlimited power of AI algorithms to enhance the user experience with its search engine. So, it launched the SGE system. Initially, this system was supposed to give more accurate and personalised search results, but it failed.

Google’s Unannounced Search Test

The Search Generative Experience (SGE) test was previously only available to users who agreed to participate. At the end of last week, Google reportedly started testing it on a small group of US users without their permission. Lily Ray, VP of SEO strategy and research at marketing firm Amsive, found that the quality and safety of the results shown to users could be improved. 

Ray tweeted about a problem she found with Google search results in December of last year that was not fixed. This weekend, she attached a screenshot and wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “Oh good, SGE will even recommend the spam sites as part of the answer.” Spammers and con artists manipulate those results, so the top results for long-tail searches are junk. Ray said that the same junk she sees in regular Google results also shows up in SGE results, which are at the top of SERPs.

Google Search Test Hijacked by Spam

Bleeping Computers was the first to report this problem. BleepingComputer found that many of SGE’s suggested sites use the .online TLD, the same HTML templates, and the same redirect sites. This implies they are all part of an SEO poisoning campaign that got them into the Google index. If someone clicks on one of these sites in Google’s search results, they will be sent to a fake website after several redirects. BleepingComputer found that the redirects often took people to fake captcha sites or YouTube pages that tried to trick them into signing up for browser notifications.

Scammers often use browser notifications to send visitors many unwanted ads straight to their desktops, even if they are not on the website. We started getting spam with ads for tech support affiliate scams, fake giveaways, and other websites we did not want as soon as we signed up for some of these notifications. For example, we got an alert for McAfee antivirus. It led to a page that said our system had ten viruses and told people to “Scan now to remove viruses” or renew their licenses.

User Safety Unclear After Spam Infiltration

Google’s AI-powered search algorithms cannot always trust the results they come up with, so it is important to check out sites before you visit them. Google says they always update their systems and ranking algorithms to stop spam. Still, spammers always change how they do things to avoid getting caught and get their content into the search index. Google has taken steps to get rid of examples that were shared for uncommon queries. They also ensure that anti-spam systems are kept up to date and that Search Engine General Equality (SGE) is protected.

Google has not confirmed the safety of public SGE users, and there is no evidence beyond Google’s claims. It is suggested that until confirmation is received, it is recommended to closely examine URLs before opening to ensure the public’s safety, as they have been unwittingly subjected to a questionable AI experiment.

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