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Google Begins Slow Rollout Of Google Bard

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Google Bard 640

Yesterday, Google began to slowly roll out Google Bard to some initial reporters and also Google opened up a waitlist to users in the US and UK. I personally gained access to Bard after writing most of this article but I did gain access to Bard yesterday at 1pm ET. But you can sign up for the waitlist at bard.google.com (it does not yet work with Google WorkSpace accounts).

Below you will find out more information on how Bard looks, how it works, how the citations/sources work, limitations, early impressions and more. There is a lot here – and it is super early.

My early impressions is that Google is clearly positioning Bard to be very different from Google Search. In addition, Google is also making sure Bard feels and works differently than Bing Chat. Bing Chat, to me, feels way more thought out in terms of the user experience and all the tiny details in how it works with Bing Search. Google is making it super clear right now that Bard is not Search and only putting a “Google It” button in the Bard results so that you are taken out of Bard and into Search.

Bard does not do a lot of what Bing Chat and ChatGPT does but Bard is way faster. Bard has no ads, Bing Chat does have ads. Bard rarely show citations/links, Bing Chat shows citations and links in a much more prominent way. Bard and Bing Chat are just very different, while being similar in purpose.

Bard is Google’s experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA, where Google can answer questions that might not have one right answer. Google said, “Bard is powered by a research large language model (LLM), specifically a lightweight and optimized version of LaMDA, and will be updated with newer, more capable models over time. It’s grounded in Google’s understanding of quality information. You can think of an LLM as a prediction engine. When given a prompt, it generates a response by selecting, one word at a time, from words that are likely to come next. Picking the most probable choice every time wouldn’t lead to very creative responses, so there’s some flexibility factored in. We continue to see that the more people use them, the better LLMs get at predicting what responses might be helpful.” In short, it will get better over time, so don’t be too harsh on Google…

As a reminder, Google said Bard is not Search we have quotes from Google’s Bard lead who said, “It’s an experiment that’s a collaborative AI service that we talked about,” Krawczyk said. “The magic that we’re finding in using the product is really around being this creative companion to helping you be the sparkplug for imagination, explore your curiosity, etc.” But he added, “we can’t stop users from trying to use it like search.”

What Bard Looks Like

Here are some screenshots and videos of Bard from Google:

click for full size

Google Bard2

Google Bard3

Citations/Links to Publishers Are Hard To Come By

It is hard to find sources, citations and links in Google Bard but they do come up if you try hard enough. Gary Illyes from Google did say publishers will get traffic from Bard, maybe that is what he meant when we see the “Google it” button in Bard?

I asked Areej Abuali and Billie Geena – who has access already, and she was unable to find Bard giving any links to any source. But some, including in my tests, were able to see some sources and links. Google Bard also has a “Google it” button…

If you really work hard to get a citation, you kind of do but not link:

And sometimes not:

When I gained access, I asked Bard why exactly it refused to give sources and citations, it said:

I cannot show you the URL of where I came up with this answer because I did not come up with this answer from a specific URL. I am trained on a massive dataset of text and code, including the Google Search index. This allows me to access and process information from the real world through Google Search and keep my response consistent with search results.

Oh wait, maybe you can force a link if you try hard enough and specific enough but this is not good enough:

Just not the best experience:

Here is why Google Bard is less likely to provide citations, “Bard is trained on a massive dataset of text and code, and it can be difficult to determine which sources were used to generate a particular answer.”

Early Impressions

The folks at The Verge played with Bard in a limited way and they said:

In a demo for The Verge, Bard was able to quickly and fluidly answer a number of general queries, offering anodyne advice on how to encourage a child to take up bowling (“take them to a bowling alley”) and recommending a list of popular heist movies (including The Italian Job, The Score, and Heist). Bard generates three responses to each user query, though the variation in their content is minimal, and underneath each reply is a prominent “Google It” button that redirects users to a related Google search.

Bard’s interface is festooned with disclaimers to treat its replies with caution

As with ChatGPT and Bing, there’s also a prominent disclaimer underneath the main text box warning users that “Bard may display inaccurate or offensive information that doesn’t represent Google’s views” — the AI equivalent of “abandon trust, all ye who type here.”

As expected, then, trying to extract factual information from Bard is hit-and-miss. Although the chatbot is connected to Google’s search results, it couldn’t fully answer a query on who gave the day’s White House press briefing (it correctly identified the press secretary as Karine Jean-Pierre but didn’t note that the cast of Ted Lasso was also present). It was also unable to correctly answer a tricky question about the maximum load capacity of a specific washing machine, instead inventing three different but incorrect answers. Repeating the query did retrieve the correct information, but users would be unable to know which was which without checking an authoritative source like the machine’s manual.

Billie Geena gained access to Bard right away, here are some of her tweets:

Areej Abuali said OpenAI’s ChatGPT beats Google Bard in her early tests:

Some more tweets in the wild:

I guess Google is okay with buying links now? 🙂

Local:

But Bard does not always get it right, like Google said:

Can Bard tell you if your content meets EEAT?

Here is a good comparison tweet:

And yes, Bard is a kiss up:

The most important feature:

I am looking forward to testing out Bard and letting you know what I find, until then, we wait. You can read the other coverage on this announcement on Techmeme.

Forum discussion at Twitter and WebmasterWorld.



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Google Father’s Day Weekend Search Ranking Volatility Update

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Google Fathers Day Doodle

Happy Father’s Day – it looks like we are seeing some pretty significant ranking fluctuations and volatility within the Google Search results over the past day or so. Yep, yet another big Google weekend update of sorts – of course – not confirmed by Google.

I am seeing a huge spike in chatter from SEOs here where these SEOs are seeing big ranking changes for the keywords they track in Google Search. The tools; some of them have never been this heated but most of the tools have not yet picked up on the volatility – I do wonder what they will show tomorrow.

Like I said, yet another weekend update, because we had weekend Google Search ranking updates or volatility over the past several weekends now. We had one last weekend, June 8th. We also had unconfirmed updates on June 5th and then on the weekend, June 1st. That was followed by the Memorial Day weekend, then we had around May 22nd, May 16th, May 9th, May 3rd and April 25th. Before that the March 2024 core update started on March 5th and ended on April 19th, 45 days later.

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the early chatter at WebmasterWorld and comments here:

USA traffic is dying again…last two days way down the entire day, and then suddenly surges at the end of the day to break even. I hardly think that is a real traffic pattern, and the complete lack of any new sales inquiries this week proves it. My last actual sale was three weeks ago. That is impossibly bad…I am beginning to think that everyone has stopped spending completely in expectation of a recession. Are people seeing a decline in sales from other (non-Google) channels? I don’t sell via amazon and other sources.

I’m seeing more and more sites that are stopping or being updated very rarely than before. Some have been abandoned for months now. The once precise SERPs are now replaced with sites with the most generic results possible and with forums everywhere or short superficial guides written by brands. I’ve noticed that Bing is also going the Google route, I’ve done some searches with completely wrong results. I don’t know what’s going on, but it looks like there’s an intention to destroy the web.

Something has definitely happened in the past 24 hours.

More rank drops.

Seems like Google is going for the kill.

+Traffic drop…Unimaginable Traffic drop…expected it to hit 0 within a week but it seems max 3-4 days is enough for that.

So again I’m seeing garbage in Google search results.

Paid for articles on major news site ranking on top, then some more high DR sites abusing the high DR only to rank high, then sites that don’t load at all, sites that don’t have the product listed at all, ..ebay, amazon.. an that on top of 4 ADS at the beginning.

Same in almost every niche

Added spam links in my niche

are you all ready for a big shuffle for Father’s day? Seems Google has already started it in my niche. We had a few quiet days.

massive drop infact…im disheartened that traffic will touch 0 in 5-6 days…im not sure whether there r others like me who r experiencing such massive traffic drops approx 50-100 daily traffic drop

I think it is super early but I suspect a lot of the tools to match with this chatter tomorrow – I guess…

Google Tracking Tools

Some of these tools, like Accuranker, have not been this heated in a very long time. Some tools are still not showing the volatility yet but maybe they will tomorrow?

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Algoroo:

Algoroo

Semrush:

Semrush

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Mozcast:

Mozcast

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Mangools:

Mangools

Wincher:

Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

I’ll try to come back later today and tomorrow to update these screenshots with more recent data.

What are you all noticing over the Father’s Day weekend?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Google Weekend Volatility, Google On Search Leak, Elizabeth Tucker Interview, Apple Intelligence & More

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Google Weekend Volatility, Google On Search Leak, Elizabeth Tucker Interview, Apple Intelligence & More


For the original iTunes version, click here.

Google Search had more weekend volatility, surprise, surprise. Google responded more to the search leak around Navboost, clicks and user interactions. I interviewed Google’s Elizabeth Tucker on the March core update and much more. Google said you can recover from the helpful content update after a core update. Google spoke about fixing a few pages and how that can help, or not, with the helpful content update. Google said sometimes search experiments cause issues with Search. Google said you cannot completely disregard desktop for SEO. Google Search Console performance reports gain merchant listings for the image tab. Google added return policy structured data to the organization level. Google dropped home activity cards from Search. Google said the lastmod date in your XML sitemap is either trusted or not. Google said you should disallow crawling of action URLs. Google needs to fix product variant structured data. Google is testing organizing the search results. Google is testing shaded favicon, site name and URL in the top of the snippet. Google is testing local five packs. Google is testing QR codes in the local panels. Google Business Profile websites now completely 404. Bing is testing black review stars. Google is testing call and location extension new formats. Appel Siri is getting more useful with Apple Intelligence and ChatGPT. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Sponsored by Similarweb, the all-in-one- strategic SEO software. Get clarity of the SEO landscape through competitor analysis, keyword research, rank tracking, SERP insights and more. With industry-leading traffic and keyword data, based on real user journeys, Similarweb gives SEO professionals the whole picture so they can strategize smartly and drive sustainable business growth.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast player to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

Search Topics of Discussion:

Please do subscribe on YouTube or subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 14, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google experiments sometimes cause problems for Google Search and they need to revert them. Google Business Profile websites now 404. Google Ads it testing new call and location extension formats. Google is testing a new from sources across the web snippets. SEO bloggers are the reason Googler’s don’t share as much, sorry. Plus, I posted the SEO video recap (in a daze).

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Search News Buzz Video Recap: Google Weekend Volatility, Google On Search Leak, Elizabeth Tucker Interview, Apple Intelligence & More


    Google Search had more weekend volatility, surprise, surprise. Google responded more to the search leak around Navboost, clicks and user interactions. I interviewed Google’s Elizabeth Tucker on the March core update and much more. Google said you can recover from the helpful content update after a core update…

  • Google: Sometimes Search Experiments Conflict Causing Issues


    In the last Search Off The Record podcast, Gary Illyes from the Google Search team said that sometimes issues can arise within the Google Search results due to two experiments that conflict with each other. He said at the 19:41 mark, “Very often there are experiments that need to be rolled back because two experiments might interact very badly with each other.”

  • Google Business Profiles Websites No Longer Load – 404


    Google Business Profiles websites, which stopped loading websites and began redirecting to the Google Business Profiles listing on Google Maps now completely 404 – as expected. It was supposed to stop working completely this past Sunday, but it did not stop working until later this week.

  • Google Tests New Call & Location Extension Ad Format


    Google may be testing a new call extension and location extension ad format. This format shows up as a carousel of links or buttons that you can scroll through below the ad snippet in the search results.


  • Google Tests Multiple Featured Snippets Under From Sources Across The Web


    Google is testing a new look for the “from sources across the web” search results feature. This one looks like the multiple features snippets look, with the perspectives design, but is titled under the “from sources across the web” search results.

  • I’m The Reason Googlers Don’t Reply With Nuance


    Did you know that SEO bloggers, like myself, are the reason you see fewer and less nuanced responses from Google Search reps? John Mueller from Google said so on Reddit, where he wrote, “Love the SEO news/bloggers, but it also means I can’t reply to things with nuance publicly.”



  • Google Dinosaur Eating A Baby


    Stan, the Google dinosaur, has a baby in its mouth, as if it is eating the baby. Stan is the Google dinosaur that is located at the GooglePlex, the Google Mountain View offices in California.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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