Google Considers Charging for AI-Powered Search Results, New Report Says

Google Considers Charging for AI-Powered Search Results, New Report Says

Google is considering charging for new premium artificial intelligence-powered search features, according to a Financial Times report that cites three people familiar with the matter. 

This includes looking at options such as adding certain AI-powered search features to its premium subscription services, which offer the company’s Gemini AI assistant in Gmail and Google Docs, the newspaper reported. Google’s free search engine would remain so, and ads would continue even for subscribers.

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Google told the Financial Times that it was “not working on or considering” ad-free search and would “continue to build new premium capabilities and services to enhance our subscription offerings across Google.” 

“For years, we’ve been reinventing search to help people access information in the way that’s most natural to them,” the statement read. “With our generative AI experiments in search, we’ve already served billions of queries, and we’re seeing positive search query growth in all of our major markets. We’re continuing to rapidly improve the product to serve new user needs.” 

“We don’t have anything to announce right now,” the company added. 

TIME has reached out to Google for comment. 

The world’s leading search engine was initially launched in 1996, two years before Google was incorporated as a company, and since then has overtaken the market. However, the introduction of free AI chatbots—most prominent among them OpenAI’s ChatGPT, launched in 2022—has transformed the tech world.

Google introduced its own chatbot called Bard in March 2023, which it rebranded as Gemini while expanding the service’s capacities and introducing a subscription in February.  

Also last year, the company allowed search engine users to sign up to test AI-powered results that could present detailed answers to questions alongside web page links. Doing so takes more expensive technological capacity, plus the company generates advertising money through its current model that directs users to advertisers’ links, according to the Financial Times.

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