Google’s AI Search Engine: Sparking Debate on Plagiarism and Authenticity

by | Sep 12, 2023

Google’s Search Generative Engine (SGE) has attracted significant attention in the online search world, sparking a heated debate about plagiarism and its impact on publishers. This AI-powered system has the ability to gather facts and text snippets from various websites and present them as its own content, raising concerns about the authenticity of the information provided. Publishers and content creators are questioning the credibility of the SGE due to its potential for misattributing content and presenting links that deviate from top search results. As a result, there is a growing demand for more transparency regarding the functioning of the SGE.

One of the main concerns surrounding Google’s SGE revolves around the potential misattribution of information. SEO experts and content creators are worried about the incorrect citation of previously published content, as this not only undermines the credibility of publishers but also intensifies competition in the publishing space, making it difficult for original creators to gain visibility. Avram Piltch, editor at Tom’s Hardware, highlighted the issue of plagiarism within Google’s SGE, emphasizing how this generative AI engine presents content from various sources as its own, raising questions about intellectual property rights and the authenticity of the information presented.

Furthermore, the generated links that appear with search queries, such as “Best CPU,” have come under scrutiny. These links, sourced from websites like, Nanoreview, and MacPaw, often differ from the top search results. Consequently, fewer users click through to publisher sites, resulting in reduced traffic and potential revenue for publishers. While Google is not the only player in the AI-powered search space, their approach to maintaining and driving traffic from generative AI-powered search engines remains unclear. Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, has developed its own generative AI link experience, using blue links that allow users to directly access the publisher’s site. However, both Google and Bing need to address the concerns of publishers and content creators regarding copyright infringement and plagiarism.

The use of training data without proper authorization has been deemed copyright infringement by the News and Media Alliance. Google’s SGE relies on a large amount of training data, including billions of images scraped from various domains. Publishers are concerned that this data gathering process may violate copyright laws and worsen the problem of plagiarism. As publishers heavily rely on search engines to drive traffic to their sites, the potential infringement of copyright and plagiarism poses a significant threat to their success in the digital landscape.

The Verge, a leading technology news outlet, has noted that Google’s SGE does not consistently align with the top search results. This discrepancy leads to a decrease in clicks to publisher sites, hindering their visibility and potential engagement. The misalignment between the SGE and organic results raises questions about the accuracy and relevance of the information presented to users.

To address the mounting concerns, Google must confront the issues surrounding plagiarism, copyright infringement, and the accuracy of information within its SGE. Improving transparency regarding the training data used and ensuring proper citation of sources would be crucial steps towards building trust with publishers and content creators.

As the AI landscape continues to evolve, it is essential for search engine providers like Google and Bing to prioritize the integrity of information, respect copyright laws, and collaborate with publishers to establish a balanced ecosystem that benefits both users and content creators. Striking a balance between maintaining information integrity and driving traffic to publisher sites is crucial as the open web faces the transformative power of AI.

In conclusion, Google’s Search Generative Engine presents a significant challenge for publishers. Concerns regarding plagiarism, incorrect citation, and search result misalignment highlight the need for transparency and collaboration between search engine providers and publishers. As the open web confronts the transformative potential of AI, achieving a balance that upholds information integrity while driving traffic to publisher sites is of utmost importance.