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ChatGPT: AI is trouble for Google

'It’s very clear that Google was once on a path where it could have potentially dominated the kinds of conversations we're having now with ChatGPT'

Google's parent company Alphabet is one of the most valuable companies in the world with a market capitalisation of over $1 trillion USD. Alphabet consistently reports strong financial results, with revenue and profits continuing to grow year over year. Google's place on our desktops, notebooks and mobile devices as our search engine of choice has been cemented by its popularity and huge following.

It was back in 1998 when Google founders Larry Page & Sergey Brin demonstrated their search engine to scientist John Hennessy to compare it to other search engines of the time. Hennessy typed in the name 'Gerhard Casper', the president of Stanford University at that time. That became the very first Google search.

According to Google as of 2021 there are over 5.6 billion searches conducted on their search engine each day. This amounts to over 2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

In November 2022 an artificial intelligence chatbot (developed by OpenAI) called ChatGPT was launched. ChatGPT stands for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer.

ChatGPT was designed to provide users with a more conversational and natural way to interact with information and get answers to their questions. While Google search is an incredibly powerful tool for finding information, it can sometimes be challenging to find exactly what you're looking for, and the results may not always be presented in a way that is easy to understand.

Users can ask questions in natural language and receive responses that are generated by an AI language model trained on a vast corpus of data. This can make it easier to get answers to complex questions or to find information that may be buried in the results of a traditional search.

Of course, there are trade-offs between this and traditional search. ChatGPT may not be as efficient as a traditional search engine for finding specific information quickly, and it may not be as effective at identifying and filtering out irrelevant or inaccurate information.

As an AI language model developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is not necessarily a threat to Google. While ChatGPT and Google both operate in the technology space, they serve different purposes and have different areas of focus.

Google is primarily a search engine and technology company that offers a wide range of products and services, including search, email, cloud storage, maps, and advertising platforms. ChatGPT, on the other hand, is a language model designed to generate human-like responses to natural language queries.

While ChatGPT can be used to answer questions and provide information, it is not necessarily in direct competition with Google's core products and services. ChatGPT and Google serve different purposes and are not necessarily in direct competition, but both are working to advance the capabilities of AI in different ways.

The issue facing Google is the fear that ChatGPT has taken the technological lead in this space. What’s worse, Google’s chief search engine rival, Microsoft, is nourishing OpenAI with $10 billion and announced in February 2023 a new version of Bing with AI chat features even more advanced than ChatGPT1.

'It’s very clear that Google was once on a path where it could have potentially dominated the kinds of conversations we're having now with ChatGPT' Margaret Mitchell (former Ethical AI lead at Google) told Forbes Magazine.

No doubt Google will come back with a compelling alternative offering, but many of us will look back and remember 2022 as the year they had the first conversation with ChatGPT.

Alan Macdonald

28th February 2023


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