HomeNewsGoogle May Soon Charge You For Using Its AI Search Feature

Google May Soon Charge You For Using Its AI Search Feature

Google may be planning to add a paywall for its AI based search features as it may be threatening the company’s core business.

Google is the default search engine for many and over the years, the search functionality has always been available free of cost. However, a new report suggests that Google may be planning to charge the customers for using its search engine, making one of its core features chargeable for the first time since the inception of the company.

The report comes from Financial Times as per which Google will begin charging users for using the new “premium” features powered by generative artificial intelligence. Google is considering various options, including integrating specific AI-powered search features into its premium subscription services. These services already include access to its new Gemini AI assistant in Gmail and Docs, as three individuals familiar with Google’s plans reported.

While the technology is still in the works and should be ready for deployment soon, the executives at Google still haven’t decided whether they want to charge users for its AI search. The report confirms that the basic search would remain free as it is currently, and even those who pay for the new AI search will continue to see ads any which way.

”But charging would represent the first time that Google — which for many years offered free consumer services funded entirely by advertising — has made people pay for enhancements to its core search product”, read the report.

Read More: Google Renames Bard Chatbot to Gemini, Unveils Dedicated Mobile App

Why Is AI Search A Threat To Google?

To put in perspective, Google’s ad business which has been the main source of its income might have taken a hit since generative AI was introduced by its competitors as well as Google itself, when it began offering Search Generative Experience to a select few who enrolled into the test. Google may have noticed a trend that’s going against it.

That’s because if Google’s search engine provided more complete AI-generated answers through a single search, it no longer required users to click through to its advertisers’ websites. Also, many online publishers that depend on Google for internet traffic fear fewer users will visit their sites if Google’s AI-powered search extracts information from their web pages and presents it to users directly.

Google recently added a new premium tier to its Google One consumer subscription service that provided users with an advanced version of Gemini. It has also added Gemini to Workspace, its suite of online productivity apps like Gmail and Docs.

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