Could AI Refresh the Internet Search Industry?

By: James Flippin · February 09, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

ChatGPT and Bard

Microsoft (MSFT) has already announced plans to combine ChatGPT’s AI tech with its Bing search engine. Not to be outdone, Google (GOOGL) announced it is testing a similar AI-powered chatbot named Bard.

Considering Bard isn’t publicly available yet, it’s impossible to directly compare the two. But it’s been reported that Bard, unlike ChatGPT, will leverage up-to-date information from the internet to guide its AI-powered queries.

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, we are entering “a new paradigm for search” and “rapid innovation is going to come.” Let’s break down exactly what that means.

Refreshing the Search Bar

Google Search has been the preeminent force on the internet for the last two decades. Over 90% of internet searches go through Google’s engine. Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos once compared Google to an immovable object: “You can climb the mountain, but you can’t move it.”

However, an AI-powered search engine could be the proverbial unstoppable force. And if Bard does not echo and amplify the innovation demonstrated by ChatGPT, the mountain mover may well be Bing.

Here are a few examples of what a search engine powered by ChatGPT could look like:

1. Product comparison: Get info like prices, ratings, reviews, and features not by jumping from site to site, but simply by asking the chatbot like you might a sales clerk.

2. Travel assistance: While Google can link you to a blogpost about your destination, ChatGPT can create a detailed itinerary, generate an email, and send it to your family.

3. Instant answers: Instead of providing you with a link to an article, ChatGPT can provide both references and summarized answers in an instant.

The New News

AI could also impact a sector inextricably linked to internet search: media.

Many media companies rely on search traffic, with ad money paid per click. But the content that gets the most traffic historically, such as articles answering common questions or giving product recommendations, could be made obsolete by AI-powered engines.

Some companies aim to stay ahead of the curve. BuzzFeed (BZFD), for example, has already embraced ChatGPT-generated content. But insiders expect media brands will need to pivot toward serving specific audiences as AI-powered search becomes the norm.

So what does this mean for you? All glitz and glamour aside, with internet content increasingly dependent on a chatbot that may deliver incorrect information with confidence, the old adage has never been more true: don’t believe everything you read online.

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