Depending on who you ask, the usage of artificial intelligence in content creation could be the best or worst thing to happen to search engines. While proper implementation of software like ChatGPT could make the content creation workflow easier, it also comes with some major setbacks. These setbacks can come in the form of misinformation and spam that could clog up important keywords and phrases your company could be targeting. 

Google has been recently criticized for its arguable lack of moderation when it comes to AI-generated spam. But that could be changing soon, as the massive tech giant has announced that it has joined the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity. Otherwise known as C2PA, the organization is composed of several technology companies advocating for more transparency in AI content creation.

“At Google, a critical part of our responsible approach to AI involves working with others in the industry to help increase transparency around digital content. This is why we are excited to join the committee and incorporate the latest version of the C2PA standard," Google vice-president of trust and safety Laurie Richardson said in a statement published on Business Wire.

"It builds on our work in this space…to provide important context to people, helping them make more informed decisions.”

So, what's Google's new C2PA standard?

It’s a system called Content Credentials, and it creates metadata within a piece of online content that details what it’s derived from and how it was altered. Google joins other major companies such as Adobe and Microsoft in committing to exploring how Content Credentials can be incorporated into their services. Of course, this doesn’t mean that AI-generated content is going to be blacklisted from Google. Rather, it will, in theory, be easier to identify and boost human-made content, whether or not it was assisted by AI. If you are curious about the technical specifications of Content Credentials, C2PA has published a dense and detailed explainer on what it aims to do now and in the future.

Regardless, one could argue that Google’s admission into the C2PA comes right as criticism of the company’s policies on AI reaches a high point. 404 Media recently ran a report on a lengthy study conducted by a group of German researchers, which found that AI-generated content and spam has resulted in a substantial decrease in search engine quality. In Google’s case, the study determined that stricter content moderation only works in initial short bursts.

“The constant struggle of billion-dollar search engine companies with targeted SEO affiliate spam should serve as an example that web search is a dynamic game with many players, some with bad intentions,” researchers said. “Addressing this kind of dynamic, fast-changing, and monetization-driven adversarial SEO content is difficult to do with static evaluation.”

Here’s to hoping that Content Credentials and C2PA are exactly what Google needs to fix the current state of search engines.

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