Google is giving websites more control over whether they are indexed by the company’s AI bots with Google Extended.
Copyright and ownership have emerged as some of the most contentious points of debate surrounding the growing use of AI. Companies have almost indiscriminately used any and all content on the web for training AI models, with Google making it clear that it views all online content as fair game.
Fortunately, the company is at least providing a way for websites to opt out, thanks to its new Google Extended feature, VP of Trust Danielle Romain announcing it in a blog post:
Today we’re announcing Google-Extended, a new control that web publishers can use to manage whether their sites help improve Bard and Vertex AI generative APIs, including future generations of models that power those products. By using Google-Extended to control access to content on a site, a website administrator can choose whether to help these AI models become more accurate and capable over time.
Making simple and scalable controls, like Google-Extended, available through robots.txt is an important step in providing transparency and control that we believe all providers of AI models should make available. However, as AI applications expand, web publishers will face the increasing complexity of managing different uses at scale. That’s why we’re committed to engaging with the web and AI communities to explore additional machine-readable approaches to choice and control for web publishers. We look forward to sharing more soon.
The blog posts’ wording is certainly interesting, framing the entire debate around choosing “whether to help these AI models become more accurate and capable,” while ignoring the various privacy and copyright issues involved.