SGE has already been active on Chrome. But the new feature, known as "SGE while browsing," is designed to take the feature a step further by immediately providing summaries to articles users click on.
Google has described this new feature as a tool to efficiently "navigate information online" and better engage with long-form content from different publishers and creators to make it easier to find certain subjects. (Related: Google is using AI to dig through Gmail accounts to "find exactly what you're looking for" – and perhaps MORE.)
The feature is currently only available as an "early experiment" that certain Chrome users can opt into. Chrome users who have already opted into using some of the SGE's earlier features will automatically have access to it.
To access this summarization feature, users scrolling through articles on Chrome will see an option at the bottom of the screen that says "Get AI-generated key points" whenever Google's AI can generate summaries for the pages they are visiting.
There will also be an "Explore on page" section that shows users certain points brought up by the articles, such as questions users are looking for answers to.
The feature will first be available in the Google app on Android and iOS, and will be available to the desktop Chrome browser "in the days ahead." The summarization feature will not be useable for paywalled articles, and publishers will have the option to block the feature by designating their content as paywalled with Google's Help Center.
The release of this AI-powered summarization tool comes with other new features, including one where users in search queries for topics related to science, economics and history can hover over certain words to get definitions or diagrams and images.
Another new feature will allow those using SGE to ask for help with programming. The generative AI will now make it easier for users to understand and debug generated code.
Christina Maas, writing for Reclaim The Net, warned that this new generative AI feature is just the latest in Google's attacks against balanced journalistic integrity.
"The company hasn't exactly been known for its objectivity in recent years," she wrote, noting that previous precedents with Google handling what information to keep and to leave out paints "a concerning picture of Google's propensity to filter content to support its own ideological perspectives."
"By ostensibly facilitating a straightforward access to key points of an article, complete with relevant links, Google is instigating a more direct interference in the consumption and interpretation of news," continued Maas.
She noted that this is a massive leap from simply being able to filter which sites show up first on search queries and which sites – such as independent and alternative news and opinion websites – get effectively blacklisted from the first page.
"This results in a dynamic where Google AI becomes the primary summarize of news, raising concerns on impartial dissemination of information," Maas said.
"The mounting evidence points to an entrenched bias in Google's algorithms and systems," she concluded. "There's a valid concern that such bias will pervade its news AI, diluting the objectivity essential for true freedom of speech."
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