Google Search adding ‘Web’ filter that skips AI answers

Google’s AI-powered search experience is now available to everyone, and with it, the web will never be the same. However, with all these new layers above the “10 blue links”, Google is allowing you to go back to something simpler with a new “Web” filter in search.

When Google was founded more than 25 years ago, the company’s search engine was a relatively simple concept. As you crawl the web, Google could bring up relevant websites to help you find what you need. That’s why “Google” is not only the name of the company, but also a verb. But over time, the initial vision changed.

In 2024, Google Search has several layers beyond links.

Some searches return shopping results, others return “knowledge panels” filled with easy-to-read information, and others have “featured snippets” that display a snippet from a website prominently at the top of the page. And now AI insights are being added to the mix, with generative AI used to summarize search results, which in many cases means you’ll never have to leave the search itself.

Google says AI Previews, like Knowledge Panels and Featured Snippets, are a new feature of Search.

In other words, it’s not something you can simply turn off.

AI previews will appear in many searches, especially if you ask a question. This means placing traditional web links toward the bottom of the page, sometimes completely out of sight, as shown below.

As such, Google has confirmed that it will be adding a new “Web” filter to search. This new filter will work like images, videos and various other search filters, but the goal will be to only display links to the web. You won’t get specific answers to questions, but you can find the answers you’re looking for on the web, just like the search that used to be focused on.

It’s unclear when exactly this new web filter will roll out to Google Search, but it appears it will be available alongside the rollout of AI Previews.

Google notes that its users find the additional features of search useful, but adds this new filter to make it easier to get links when a user wants them.

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