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Google AI Overviews are still a disaster unless you like glue on your pizza

Published Jun 12th, 2024 1:01PM EDT
Google announced AI Overviews coming to Google Search at I/O 2024.
Image: Google Inc.

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How much glue should one put on pizza? The answer is (and always was) that you should not put any glue on pizza, ever. But if you’re Google Search’s AI Overviews, the answer is a bit less clear.

Yes, putting glue on pizza is one of the Google Search AI Overviews results that gave Google its biggest AI headache so far. The answer went viral online a few weeks ago, along with other misleading AI Overviews and a few fake ones.

Google had to come out and explain how AI Overviews hallucinations aren’t the same thing as regular Gemini hallucinations. It blamed users for faking some Google Search AI answers, though the company acknowledged AI Overviews’ inability to handle online jokes, like the pizza glue mess.

Even after all the hubbub, the AI Overviews feature is still live, and Google has no plans to pause it. Reports have said that the company might have reduced the frequency of AI-powered snippets, though.

Now, the recommendations to put glue on your pizza are back in AI Overviews, a signal that our collective Google Search nightmare isn’t over.

If you search “how much glue to add to pizza” with Google, you might get an AI Overview at the top that offers you a precise amount. That’s because AI continues to learn from the web. And the web, yours truly included, had plenty of fun with the previous glue-on-pizza recommendation, reporting on Google’s glorious blunder.

Therefore, the number of sources discussing how much glue one should put on pizza has increased significantly in the past few weeks. Reports like the one you’re reading right now will continue to train Google’s Gemini AI, and the AI Overviews that appear in Google Search will continue to wrongly recommend putting glue on pizza.

We’re talking about glue on pizza yet again because people have observed AI Overviews recommendations based on a Business Insider story that covered the Google Search nonsense. The Verge tested out the search and AI Overviews delivered. That is, it proved that AI fails to understand jokes and sarcasm.

This cycle will continue until Google does something about it. The best thing would be to remove AI Overviews from Google Search completely or to make them optional.

An alternative would be to postpone the official release until AI gets better and stops recommending glue for pizza. There’s also the dirty fix: Teach AI never to recommend non-edible substances for food recipes, including glue, no matter what it reads online.

Whatever the case, the whole glue-on-pizza thing doesn’t affect me personally. First, AI Overviews aren’t available in Europe for now. Most importantly, I ditched Google Search well before the AI craze by moving to DuckDuckGo. Then, I incorporated Perplexity and ChatGPT into my online search workflow.

I won’t see glue on pizza in real life or in dumb Google Search results anytime soon. The same goes for any other erroneous AI Overviews that will probably continue to populate the web for some time to come.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.