Artificial Intelligence: Will ChatGPT replace Google?

Red alert at Google, where there are fears that ChatGPT, the supercharged chatbot made public on November 30 by Open AIdoes not come to challenge the domination of the technological giant on Internet search, which remains the basis of its business model.

Company executive Sundar Pichai participated in a series of meetings aimed at redefining Google’s strategy around artificial intelligence, and suspended several work groups to allow employees to focus on the threat posed by Google. ChatGPT. Others have been tasked with designing new products based on artificial intelligence, for example in order to generate images, artistic or not, as DALL-E, another offshoot of OpenAI, knows very well.

Microsoft jumps at the chance

At the same time, Microsoft announced that it was looking to integrate ChatGPT with Bing, its rival search engine to Google, which has around 2.5% market share in global online search (against 92% for Google). While Bing’s market share remains very modest compared to that of its rival, it still generates significant revenue and should not be underestimated.

Last June, Microsoft announced that it had generated $11.6 billion in search revenue over the previous twelve months, and Bing accounts for the majority of that, alongside other services like MSN.com. For comparison, Twitter generated just over five billion in revenue over the same period.

The chatbot that has the answer to everything

ChatGPT has been igniting the web since OpenAI made it freely available to the public. This chatbot is indeed able to generate several paragraphs of a solidly constructed and written argument to any question asked by the user, text that often looks deceptively similar to what a human could have written. Internet users have used it to complete school assignments, write lines of code, pastiche the Bible or even write sonnets on absurd themes.

But by presenting a reasoned and synthetic response on any subject, summarizing the knowledge available on the web, ChatGPT could above all completely transform the way we access information online. Instead of having to type in keywords to obtain a series of relevant links among which we ourselves have to search for the information that interests us, we could thus ask a question as it comes to our mind and immediately obtain an exhaustive answer. .

A danger for Google?

As the content available on the web increases, it becomes more difficult for Internet users to find the best answer to their query. Products like ChatGPT make it possible to find information immediately without having to go through several web pages and without having to navigate between advertisements says Amr Awadallah, co-founder and CEO of Vectara, a company that integrates artificial intelligence into a large number of applications.

According to him, by democratizing the use of artificial intelligence, ChatGPT will facilitate the establishment of competing search engines by small players. ” ChatGPT is already causing a stir in the online search market. Until now, the most sophisticated search engines have been the preserve of technological giants. Today, the best artificial intelligence algorithms become usable by developers who can mobilize their capacities in order to compete with the best search engines on the market. »

An opinion shared by Morgan Stanley analysts: shortly after the launch of ChatGPT, the American bank published a report in which Brian Nowak, its expert for everything related to the Alphabet group, affirms that language tools like ChatGPT can take market share to the online search giant and “ challenge Google’s position as a gateway for the public on the Internet. »

Why Google’s wiggle room is limited

Admittedly, Google is far from helpless in the face of this new threat, since the company is one of the most advanced in the world in the artificial intelligence sector and therefore has the means to respond to any rival product mobilizing ChatGPT with its own in-house technology.

The Alphabet group is also one of the contributors to OpenAI, a non-profit organization founded by Sam Altman and Elon Musk (who has since left the organization but remains one of its fundraisers) to democratize the artificial intelligence for humanistic purposes.

But where young players eager to transform the way we access information online can afford to take risks and make mistakes, Google, used every day by billions of Internet users, does not have the same leeway.

The fiasco of bot Tay launched by Microsoft in 2018, and the more recent one, Meta’s BlenderBot shows the risks that a technological giant takes by making a necessarily imperfect chatbot accessible to the public. On several occasions, ChatGPT has communicated erroneous information to its users: at the slightest glitch or slippage, Google could be accused of promoting misinformation or stirring up tensions between communities.

The future faces of online research

Even assuming that Google manages to release its own version of ChatGPT without the slightest hitch, it is not certain that the Web giant will find its account there. Remember that Google derives the overwhelming majority of its income from the advertising inserts it sells within its search engine. However, a search tool like ChatGPT is much less appropriate for inserting advertisements, since the Internet user reads a simple text in response to his request, and does not need to navigate between different links.

It is therefore indeed the goose that lays the golden eggs of Google which could be threatened, at some point. where its business model is already losing steam. If the Internet giant has reason to worry, it is however unlikely that its monopoly on online research will be called into question overnight. If only because there are many scenarios in which the Internet user is not looking to obtain precise information, but rather to have a list of links as currently offered by Google, in the case of commerce online, for example.

On the other hand, it is likely that in the future, the two ways of probing the web will coexist. And that Google’s grip on information is much less significant than it is today.