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While Traditional Publishers Complain, Google’s New Search Feature (SGE), Powered by AI, Could Be a Boon for Legal Bloggers

October 24, 2023

Helen Coster reports for Reuters that Google is rolling out a new search feature called the Search Generative Experience (SGE) in the United States, India, and Japan.

Powered by generative AI, SGE provides summarized answers to search queries at the top of the Google search homepage, with accompanying drop-down buttons for the leading sources and links to their copy. In effect, footnotes.

While users can “dig deeper” through linked sources, mainstream publishers face a dilemma. If they want to prevent their content from being used in Google’s AI – as many do – they can opt out of SGE, but they will then disappear from traditional Google search results.

This raises concerns about reduced web traffic, credibility, and compensation for content used to train AI models to traditional publishers ala newspapers. Google insists that SGE is a user opt-in experiment aimed at sending valuable traffic to a broad spectrum of content creators, including publishers.

Nonetheless, the tension between Google and publishers persists, particularly over issues like attribution and potential loss of advertising revenue.

SGE a plus for legal bloggers

As the CEO of a legal tech company focused on blog publishing solutions for lawyers, I see a possible silver lining in SGE.

Unlike traditional publishers who rely heavily on advertising revenue generated through web traffic, most legal bloggers have a different objective. We aim to provide valuable information to the public and establish ourselves as thought leaders in our respective fields.

SGE’s generative AI-powered summaries could be a boon for legal bloggers. When our blogs appear in these summaries, it serves as a form of validation and extends our reach to an audience genuinely seeking legal information.

While traditional publishers are fretting over losing clicks and ad revenue, legal bloggers stand to benefit from this increased visibility and credibility. Our primary currency is not click-through rates, but the depth and quality of the information we offer.

Moreover, the legal industry has always been about citation and attribution, values that resonate with Google’s latest tool. Even if these AI-generated summaries draw from multiple web pages, the mere inclusion of our work can contribute to shaping public understanding of legal issues.

So, as Google continues to refine its generative AI applications in search, let’s consider embracing the technology as an opportunity to further our objective—leveraging technology to provide high-quality legal information to the public.

For law firms always looking to get clicks to their blogs as a measurement of return – content marketing – you should get over it and realize the true potential of legal blogging.