Manu writes about apps and businesses who claim to replace search engines by feeding the web page content to a language model and returning the response to the user:

Firstly, without a search engine in the mix, the AI has no way to search for anything. So if the goal is to replace the traditional search engine then we’re already failing. Because we’re not replacing anything, we’re just hiding it behind some AI tool.

The second issue is one of trust. Should I just trust ARC Search? Who can guarantee that the sources used by ARC are not just companies that have paid ARC to be used as such? “But Manu, ARC Search doesn’t just provide the answer to your query, it also provides links to the sources.“ Well then congratulations, you just recreated an AI-nerfed SERP with fewer links and more extra layers.

What happens to the web as a whole? Why should I keep creating content for the web if I’m a content creator who relies on traffic to run my creative business? No one will visit my site because the relevant content will be consumed by some boring ass generated pages. And without content on the web, products like ARC Search are pointless.

The problem with search is not the UI. Having an AI search for me won’t solve the issue of the sea of garbage content out there.

The problem with search is that it’s full of fucking spam and ads. That’s the problem with search. The solution to search is not to “reinvent the browser” or to use AI to power searches for you. The solution to search is a search engine that is aligned with the users.


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