• Search Trends & User Experience

Google AI Overviews: Exploring Search Trends and User Satisfaction

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 2 min read
Google AI Overviews: Exploring Search Trends and User Satisfaction


What happens when you let Google do the Googling for you, but Google can't find what Google is Googling for on Google?

Increased Search Usage

During Google I/O, Alphabet/Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that AI Overviews have resulted in an “increase in Search usage.” Pichai reiterated this during Alphabet’s Q1 2024 earnings call. However, this raises the question: are AI Overviews, formerly known as Search Generative Experience (SGE), actually solving the problem they were meant to fix—providing users with the answers or information they want faster?

Google’s "Search in the Gemini era" video revealed a significant shift: the absence of blue links. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt once said that Google is not about blue links, and it appears he wasn’t wrong. In the Gemini era, links now reside in a Web filter. Users may have to hunt for this filter under More options, with Web being the fourth choice after All, Images, Video, and News.

The Fragmenting Search Landscape

We lack precise data on overall Google Search usage in 2024 compared to previous years, as Google doesn’t disclose this information. However, an increase in Search usage is akin to reporting on Domain Authority—a meaningless vanity metric. Despite Google’s claims of increased user satisfaction, there has been a sustained period of negativity around the quality of Google’s Search results.

AI Overviews Apocalypse

The doomsday scenario warned about since last May has arrived with the rollout of AI Overviews. Publishers, already concerned about losing traffic due to Google’s updates or Gartner’s prediction of a 25% drop in search engine traffic by 2026, are now more anxious.

Here are some headlines following the launch of AI Overviews:

  • News publishers sound alarm on Google’s new AI-infused search, warn of ‘catastrophic’ impacts

  • Google’s AI Search Feature Fuels Content Traffic Concerns

  • Google unleashes AI in search, raising hopes for better results and fears about less web traffic

  • Why I’d Rather Use TikTok Than Google Search’s AI Overviews

  • Site Traffic Down? Google Just Made Some Big Search AI Changes

  • Google’s AI search revamp puts publishers in a quandary

  • Google Search’s AI Overview a threat to journalism, warns NMA chief

Industry Reactions

Owen Meredith, CEO of the News Media Association, summed up a common sentiment: “Google’s mission to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible’ is threatened by generative AI and AI Overviews that discourage users from clicking through to original links, undermining the business model of quality journalism.”

User Dissatisfaction

Despite claims of increased satisfaction, many users are unhappy with the current state of Google Search. The search landscape is fragmenting, with users turning to other platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit for search purposes. Rumors of a ChatGPT search product add to this dynamic environment.

In this new era, advertisers should anticipate higher costs, and websites should brace for less organic traffic. Google seems to be pushing users into follow-up queries to inflate Search usage stats or using agents for tasks like purchases, potentially adding hidden fees.



So, we don’t know for a fact that people are searching less on Google. We just know it’s true. With dissatisfaction rising and search habits shifting, Google’s role as a search monopoly is being challenged. AI Overviews were designed to reduce the number of searches, yet they seem to increase them, highlighting a fundamental issue with their implementation.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins

Ranktracker's CEO/CMO & Co-founder

Felix Rose-Collins is the Co-founder and CEO/CMO of Ranktracker. With over 15 years of SEO experience, he has single-handedly scaled the Ranktracker site to over 500,000 monthly visits, with 390,000 of these stemming from organic searches each month.

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