While Search results have been degrading steadily over the past few years, they have fallen off of a cliff since chatgpt came online. AI has empowered SEO people to nearly perfectly game Google's Search crawling and indexing algorithms. Ad-littered, machine generated, gobbledygook text dominates the first several pages of Google Search results now, and while this yields a boost in revenue for Google, and automated ad-farm gobbledygook publishers, you can't even call the material on the other end "content" anymore; it's garbage.
Simple questions like "what battery do I need for Y," now yield pages and pages of useless verbosity, with hints of an answer interwoven into the text. The consumer is left to archeological digging in an often futile attempt to find the information they're after. The result is a complete meltdown in trust, and frustration sifting through ads doing all sorts of gymnastics to steal a click from me.
The basic "lookup" utility of the internet is fading quickly. Recently I opted to jettison Google as my default search engine across all of my devices (for the curious, I'm using duckduckgo now, and it's fine), and I purchased physical copies of travel guide books to explore new cities.
The other day I found myself using chatgpt to do web searching, and validating. It did a reasonable job finding content, but I directed it to validate the pages before suggesting them as reasonable responses, after it provided a few that were useless. Whatever chatgpt is using for its search is returning gamed content too, so I basically outsourced the site/content validation to chatgpt before consuming it directly myself. I'd be curious to know what they're using for crawling. My GPT now knows to validate before returning anything to me.
I never anticipated I'd be using chatgpt to sift through a search engine's garbage in pursuit of what I'm after, but, I am. Oh how the mighty have fallen.