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Embrace the carnage.

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
2 min read

The web is back.

Or, is it on its back?

Google and OpenAI have been racing to see who can replace the web for you. Google isn’t even hiding it anymore.

From Platformer via Daring Fireball:

“This new approach is captured elegantly in a slogan that appeared several times during Tuesday’s keynote: let Google do the Googling for you. It’s a phrase that identifies browsing the web  —  a task once considered entertaining enough that it was given the nickname ‘surfing’ —  as a chore, something better left to a bot.”
“Over the past two and a half decades, Google extended itself into so many different parts of the web that it became synonymous with it. And now that LLMs promise to let users understand all that the web contains in real time, Google at last has what it needs to finish the job: replacing the web, in so many of the ways that matter, with itself.”

From Copyblogger’s Tim Stoddart:

“Honest question for any legal experts out there. How is this legal? Isn't Google just stealing at this point? This can’t not end in lawsuits. So every publisher in the world now is basically spoon feeding their IP and traffic to Google?”

From The Washington Post:

“Web publishers brace for carnage as Google adds AI answers.”


Oh, they mean themselves.

I don’t know many creators who are panicking. This has always been Google’s goal and nimble publishers have been preparing for this for years.

You do have a newsletter, right? How about a blog and home page?

From The New Yorker:

“Surrounded by dreck, the digital citizen is discovering that the best way to find what she used to get from social platforms is to type a URL into a browser bar and visit an individual site…Ben Smith, the co-founder of Semafor, told me…‘We were convinced that home pages were dead. In fact, they were just resting.’”

Google, and LLMs, need to feed off our creations to maintain their strategy, without eating their own tail. As long as that is true, they will need to live in a symbiotic relationship. If the content dies, everything dies.

As always, avoid the ad model, maintain a healthy newsletter, and care for your web content. Go the extra mile like my friend Jamie Thingelstad by gardening your blog and keep your readers updated

That’s about as contrarian as you can get after Google’s announcements and in the face of LLMs in general. I love it. It doesn’t scale. That’s why it works.

And it’s fun.

They’ll may steal our creations, but they can’t steal the fun.


P.S. Check out my notes from The Newsletter Conference and my friend Patrick Rhone’s new book, “For You” — the perfect example of a no-excuses book.

P.P.S. One of the search experts interviewed in the stories above named his consultancy Siege Media. That was the name of my publishing company (and probably still is in this state since it wasn't a corporation). It’s named for my nickname’s nickname. CJ is two syllables. Siege is one. So that’s what all my closest friends and family called me. Never underestimate the laziness of your fellow humans (myself included).