AI Content Threat to Google
Looking back, 2022 will be remembered as a breakthrough year for AI. Between AI-image generators such as DALL-E and Lensa and ChatGPT, marketers and the broader public have become infatuated with the novelty of AI. ChatGPT is the fastest "consumer product" to reach a million users – period. Beyond all the humorous example outputs people are posting on LinkedIn there are numerous use cases and marketing implications for ChatGPT. Pundits are expressing both excitement and concern as people contemplate how significant the impact of these technologies will likely be. We've speculated about AI's potential impact on local search. And some have said Google could be replaced or "disrupted" by AI tools. The reality is more complex and likely involves Google having to deal with more and more AI-driven content. There are two primary risks: explosion of content volume and declining quality, which could further drive people away.
- AI content doesn't automatically mean mediocrity, especially if there's meaningful human editorial oversight. But ...
- Today, Google's guidelines largely prohibit use of automated content, although if human editors are involved its more ambiguous.
- The coming tsunami of AI-generated content will be an existential challenge for Google. It could add further to user dissatisfaction.
Amazon 'Inspired' by TikTok
Beyond AI, one of the biggest trends of 2022 has been TikTok's influence on other internet companies, including Amazon. The shopping site is now rolling out a new TikTok (and Instagram) "inspired" social feed called Inspire. Live for only a few people today, it will start showing up for most users within the Amazon app over the next few months. A light bulb in the bottom nav will signify its arrival. Inspire won't be available on the desktop at all apparently. Users will be asked to sign up for personalized shopping categories and then receive a customized feed of images and videos they can buy from. Amazon hopes Inspire will lead to more engagement and sales. The company's stock has lost roughly half its value this year and customer satisfaction has declined. If successful, Amazon will gain new data/insights that could shape the broader site. Ad revenue won't be far behind.
- Inspire has the potential to be really successful, but success isn't guaranteed. It will depend on content quality and volume.
- Amazon will need to offer incentives for "creators" to participate. As mentioned, Inspire could also be a lucrative new ad channel.
- It's striking to see how significant TikTok's influence has been on most of the major tech companies: Amazon, Google, Facebook, among others.
Yelp's SaaS Journey Continues
Yelp continues to introduce new features and capabilities that offer SaaS functionality to business owners and consumers. The latest is a minor entry called Projects, which helps centralize consumer interactions with Yelp businesses under a single tab. Projects keeps a list of all your business interactions and RFQs in one place. It's also a vendor/provider list that users can return to for potential future jobs. "The new ‘Projects’ experience on the Yelp app lets consumers better create, manage, and organize all their Request A Quote and Request A Call details in one place." Yelp has also redesigned the messaging inbox for businesses. Previously, users accessed interactions with businesses through a Messages tab that was somewhat buried on the app. Yelp's philosophy has been to introduce tools or features that offer utility for both businesses and consumers simultaneously.
- The vast majority of new reviews are happening on Google. Yelp has been searching for new ways to compete, with an evolving strategy.
- Yelp has tried to partly diversify away from ad revenue with fee-based services for businesses. Yet ad revenues are up in 2022.
- Yelp stands to benefit if Google is forced to modify its local SERPs in response to regulatory pressure. However, that remains to be seen.
- Google's New Review Algorithm: What We Know by Mike Blumenthal.
- Near Memo episode 92: ChatGPT’s potential impact on local; how Google’s new review filter works; Google nukes 'The Beam' (boo!)
- Local Pack frequency hits lowest level of 2022 in November.
- Google "dumbing down" location for photos.
- G-Maps, Waze teams combined; Waze brand to survive for now (WSJ).
- Tips for managing the GBP new merchant experience (NMX).
- Guide to understanding Google's December HCU update.
- Moz: How Google is segmenting, presenting video in the SERP.
- EU: Google must remove inaccurate info in SERP if shown evidence.
- States stepping in to regulate tech while feds dither (WaPo).
- FTC seeking to block Microsoft's ~$70B acquisition of Activision.
- Apple announces end-to-end encryption; everyone's happy but the FBI.
- Twitter Blue to cost $7.99 if bought online, $11 if bought in the app.
- Mastodon traffic grows by nearly 600% amid Twitter drama.
- Walmart, Target most popular for in-store shopping says survey.
- Top searches of 2022, including on Maps and "Near Me."
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