You will soon be able to chat with Google Search as Google fends off what could be the first of many fierce competitors for its search engine dominance.
According to a New York Times article, last month, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, held several meetings with company executives. The topic: a rival’s new chatbot, a clever A.I. product that looked as if it could be the first notable threat in decades to Google’s $149 billion search business that dominates with more than 90% of searches.
The result of these meetings is that Google will demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features later this year.
This isn’t just another vanity project of Google that has come out of nowhere. AI – and in particular OpenAI’s ChatGPT – has been discussed ad nauseam over the past two months. Microsoft is already working to integrate features of ChatGPT into its Bing Search Engine. This has the potential to reshape search engines and by extension search engine optimisation significantly. If you thought featured snippets were stealing your traffic, just wait until Google starts being able to accurately answer some even more complex questions which your existing content is designed to answer. And likely without even having to click enter on the search.
Google AI Playing Catch-Up
In December, following the launch of and reaction to ChatGPT, Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly issued a “code red,” realising that the technology was an urgent and significant threat to Google’s search business. ChatGPT, which was released by the small San Francisco company OpenAI two months ago, amazed users by simply explaining complex concepts and generating ideas from scratch. More important to Google, it looked as if it could offer a new way to search for information on the internet.
The Future of Google Search?
Google now intends to unveil more than 20 new products and demonstrate an updated version of its search engine with chatbot features this year, according to a slide presentation reviewed by The New York Times and two people with knowledge of the plans who were not authorized to discuss them.
There were three priorities discussed in that chatbot search engine presentation:
- Getting facts right.
- Ensuring safety.
- Getting rid of misinformation.
It is likely that Google will block certain words to avoid increased hate speech and will also try to minimize other potential issues relating to hate and toxicity, danger and misinformation, according to the report.
Overall with the fast growing popularity of AI tools such as ChatGPT, GPT-3 and DALL-E 2, it is no surprise that industries such as search engines are eyeing up the impact that these will have on their businesses. While some of these tools have someway to go before they are universally adopted, the potential launch of Google AI as a feature of their search engine is an intriguing proposition.