Google's AI Search Leads Users to Scam and Spam Sites

Google has a new feature in its search engine that uses AI, called the Search Generative Experience (SGE). This feature is supposed to help people by giving quick summaries for their search questions and suggesting websites to visit. But there's a problem. It's been found that Google's new AI search is accidentally recommending websites that are not safe. These websites trick people into scams, like fake contests or bad software offers.

Some experts, including an SEO consultant named Lily Ray and Simon Panting, noticed that the SGE often suggests websites that share a lot of similarities, like using the same design or being part of the same online campaign to trick the search engine. When someone clicks on these suggested sites, they are taken through a bunch of other websites until they end up at one that's trying to scam them.

Scam websites suggested by Google's SGE employ various tactics, from fake contests to tech support scams, deceiving users.
Image: Simon Panting / X

These scam sites might pretend to be a YouTube page asking you to subscribe to notifications. But if you do, your computer gets flooded with spam ads for things like fake tech support or giveaways. Some of these ads even try to scare you into thinking your computer has a virus to sell you software.

The SGE also suggests websites that promise big prizes, like a new iPhone, but they're just trying to get your personal info.

What makes this even trickier is how Google's AI talks like a human and makes these scam sites seem reliable by suggesting them in the search answers. It's hard to tell how these scammy sites trick Google's AI into recommending them.

Google said they're always working to fight these spammy sites. They try to keep them out of the search results and have removed some of the ones reported. But it's like a constant game where the scammers keep finding new ways to sneak in.

For those caught by the scam where sites send annoying ads directly to your desktop, there's a way to stop them. If you use Google Chrome, you can go into the settings to find a list of sites allowed to send you notifications. You can remove the ones you don't want, and they'll stop sending you spam.

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