Fake Google AI Overview Screenshots Go Viral After New Feature's Rollout

Reddit u/hasnain39, X user @floriyrobin, X user @wongmjane
Reddit u/hasnain39, X user @floriyrobin, X user @wongmjane

Google's new AI Overview feature, which uses generative AI to summarize answers to search queries and displays them at the top of search results, rolled out to American users in mid-May 2024 amid unexpected controversy. Users reported encountering nonsensical, factually inaccurate or potentially dangerous responses to their queries and shared screenshots of them on social media.

This example, touting the addition of glue to pizza sauce "to give it more tackiness," quickly went viral on X:

(X user @GBarEscapee)

"Google's AI search results said you could put glue in pizza sauce to keep the cheese from sliding off. Google had obviously ingested a Reddit comment that was meant as a joke — but the AI didn't get it. I still went ahead and made a pizza with 1/8 of a cup of glue," a Business Insider correspondent wrote. "What's this all mean for the future?"

In an email to Snopes, Google spokesperson Ned Adriance confirmed that "pizza glue" and other specific examples of odd or inappropriate AI Overview results (such as the recommendation that humans eat "at least one small rock per day") were authentic. However, he also alerted us that some of the purported examples of AI Overview "mistakes" circulating online were fake and spreading harmful misinformation. "We've seen many examples that were doctored or that we couldn't reproduce," he wrote.

"The most notable example is a screenshot of an alleged AI Overview providing instructions on self-harm – which has been shared widely. This is a fake image, and this AI Overview never appeared," said Adriance. "The original poster even admitted to faking it."

That viral image, which circulated on social media platforms including Reddit, Instagram and Threads, showed a fabricated AI Overview result for "i'm feeling depressed" that said, "One Reddit user suggests jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge."

(Reddit u/hasnain39)

The fake screenshot even turned up in a New York Times article that erroneously cited it as an actual result. The Times issued this correction:

A correction was made on May 24, 2024: An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to a Google result from the company's new artificial-intelligence tool AI Overview. A social media commenter claimed that a result for a search on depression suggested jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge as a remedy. That result was faked, a Google spokeswoman said, and never appeared in real results.

Adriance provided Snopes with other examples of doctored images falsely presented as real AI Overviews. For instance, one fake screenshot showed a made-up response to the question, "Is it okay to leave a dog in a hot car?" The answer was, "Yes, it's always safe to leave a dog in a car."

(X user @napalmtrees)

Another doctored image showed a fake result for the query "Smoking while pregnant," with the response: "Doctors recommend smoking 2-3 cigarettes per day during pregnancy."

(X user @floriyrobin)

Other doctored screenshots showed fake AI Overviews regarding "gay Star Wars characters," astronaut's work responsibilities, or whether neurotoxin was good for you.

Some social media users shared instructions on how to create the fake overviews, as can be seen in the example below:

This isn't the first time we've covered a Google-related rumor. For instance, in March 2024, we debunked a false claim that Google "changed its definition" of "bloodbath" to push an anti-Donald Trump agenda after he uttered the word at a campaign rally. In April 2024, we investigated whether an Italian mafia boss Gioacchino Gammino was captured after 20 years thanks to Google Street View.


"Generative AI in Search: Let Google Do the Searching for You." Google, 14 May 2024, https://blog.google/products/search/generative-ai-google-search-may-2024/.

Grant, Nico. "Google's A.I. Search Errors Cause a Furor Online." The New York Times, 24 May 2024. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/24/technology/google-ai-overview-search.html.

Notopoulos, Katie. "Google AI Said to Put Glue in Pizza — so I Made a Pizza with Glue and Ate It." Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/google-ai-glue-pizza-i-tried-it-2024-5. Accessed 28 May 2024.

Wrona, Aleksandra. "Google Changed Its Definition of 'Bloodbath' After Trump Used It in a Speech?" Snopes, 28 Mar. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/trump-bloodbath-definition-google/.

---. "Italian Mafia Boss Captured After 20 Years Thanks to Google Maps?" Snopes, 19 Apr. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/italian-mafia-boss-google-maps/.