Google has Declared the Internet is Dead: Long Live LLMs

Greg Twemlow
4 min readMay 18, 2024

The upheaval caused by Google’s changes announced this week might lead users to reconsider how they conduct information and knowledge searches.

DALL·E 2024–05–18 11.22.53 — A somber scene featuring a prominent tombstone with the inscription ‘Internet’ on it, symbolizing the end of the traditional internet era. Google Declares the Internet is Dead: Long Live LLMs by Greg Twemlow

Google’s announcements signify a transformative shift that could be interpreted as declaring the end of the traditional internet as we know it. This new era, dominated by large language models (LLMs) and AI-driven content, represents a fundamental change in how we access and interact with information online.

Key Points to Consider

The transformation from Search to AI-generated content

  • Traditional Search: Historically, search engines have acted as gateways to information, indexing and linking to various sources across the web.
  • AI-Driven Model: LLMs like Google’s Gemini emphasize generating answers directly within the search engine, reducing the need to navigate to external sites.

Implications of the Shift

  • User Experience: Users might find answers more quickly but at the cost of reduced visibility for diverse sources of information.
  • SEO/SEM Impact: Businesses reliant on SEO strategies face significant disruption as their content becomes less visible.
  • Quality and Reliability: The reliability of AI-generated content is a major concern, especially in the case of inaccuracies and harmful advice.

New Conceptualization of the Internet

  • From Links to Answers: The shift from linking to providing answers represents a new conceptualization of the internet, in which AI intermediates the flow of information.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations: This change raises questions about Google’s role as a publisher and its accountability for the content it generates.

Google “is the internet,” at least for many people, because it’s been the digital entry point to finding answers for over 20 years. However, the company’s latest changes to its search engine and other products might worsen this experience.

With the inevitable and heavy integration of artificial intelligence (AI), Google is attempting to transform itself from a one-stop portal for finding information into a one-stop shop that independently delivers knowledge and has, in effect, declared that the internet is dead.

This shift, driven by the new “search generative experience” and the Gemini chatbot, significantly departs from the traditional search model.

Unsettling Changes for SEO and Users

These changes are unsettling for SEO experts and everyday users alike. Recent updates to Google’s search algorithm have drastically reduced the visibility of many major websites. Data shows that sites heavy on inline ads and affiliate links have seen their traffic drop by up to 75%. This shift has hit major tech news outlets hard, disrupting the flow of information and altering traffic patterns across the internet.

Quality and Reliability Concerns

More troubling are the concerns about the quality and reliability of the AI-generated content that Google now prioritizes. Numerous complaints have been made about the accuracy of the information provided by Google’s AI, including dangerous health advice and incorrect facts. For instance, AI needs to improve at basic tasks such as finding nearby restaurants and raising serious questions about its dependability.

Broader Implications and Business Impact

These changes have broader implications, too. Suppose Google is seen as directly providing information rather than merely linking to it. In that case, it might face legal challenges as a publisher. This shift could alter how the company is perceived by regulators and the public alike. In an era where trust in information sources is paramount, Google’s reliance on AI-generated content could further erode user confidence if the quality issues persist. Moreover, these changes will cause upheaval for businesses that have built their online presence based on SEO/SEM strategies. Thousands of companies are being impacted, disrupting their operations and revenue streams.

Putting Customers to Market

The upheaval caused by Google’s changes might lead users to reconsider how they conduct internet searches. This phenomenon, often called “putting customers to market,” implies that such a significant shift can make users realize they don’t have to accept the changes. With the availability of alternatives like Bing, DuckDuckGo, and privacy-focused search engines like Perplexity AI, users will likely start exploring other options. This major shift could trigger a change in user search habits, potentially diminishing Google’s dominance in the search engine market.

Concerns about Google’s Web Filter

To address some of these concerns, Google is introducing a “Web” filter that allows users to access traditional search results. However, this feature requires extra steps, which may need to be revised to restore trust among users who prefer reliable, text-based information. As Google continues to push towards AI-driven search tools, it raises the question: Is it fair for one company to shift the internet’s goalposts without consultation or time to prepare for massive change? For many, the answer is no. The abrupt and sweeping nature of these changes, coupled with the lack of transparency and the questionable quality of AI-generated results, suggests that Google’s latest moves might be more about corporate strategy than user benefit.

What Happens Next?

Google aims to modernize its search capabilities with AI, but the impact on the quality, reliability, and accessibility of information raises significant concerns. Users may need help trusting search results and navigating additional hurdles to find credible information. As the company that “is the internet” for many, Google is responsible for considering the broader implications of its actions on the digital landscape.

The potential shift in user search habits will begin a new era of navigating and trusting vast data resources by interacting with Large Language Models.

About the author: Greg Twemlow, Founder of Future Skills Studio.

Future Skills Studio Founder, Greg Twemlow

Greg Twemlow: Sharing what I’ve learned from my career of 35 years as a citizen of the world, parent, corporate executive, entrepreneur, and, since 2018, CEO of Future Skills Studio, focused on experiential learning programs for young people.

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Greg Twemlow

Pioneering AI-Enhanced Educational Strategies | Champion of Lifelong Learning & Student Success in the GenAI Era