Google is considering charging for some of its search results

Google is planning a major change to its search engine (Picture: Getty)

Google is considering charging for some of its search results, according to three people with knowledge of the plans.

The move, reported by the Financial Times (FT), would be the first time the company had charged for its flagship product.

Early indications suggest Google will put a number of new ‘premium’ features behind a paywall, including search features powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

It will not charge for its traditional search engine, which generates income for Google and its parent Alphabet through advertising.

Ads will still appear alongside paid-for search results, according to the FT.

In a statement, Google said: ‘We’re not working on or considering an ad-free search experience. As we’ve done many times before, we’ll continue to build new premium capabilities and services to enhance our subscription offerings across Google.’

Gemini is Google’s new AI assistant (Picture: Getty)

Google already offers subscription plans for a number of its services, including cloud storage and its new Gemini AI assistant in Gmail and Docs.

Gemini is the latest iteration of its AI chatbot Bard, somewhat hastily released last year after ChatGPT shook up the industry in late 2022.

Google, which invented much of the foundational technology for today’s AI boom, is now figuring out how to embrace the demand while preserving its core product. 

Many have turned towards ChatGPT as an alternative to Google, relying on its fully-formed answers rather than Google’s list of websites for a quicker answer – even though it may not always be correct.

It is also ad-free, something that Google cannot compete with – the majority of its revenues are generated through advertising.

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