Over the decades, Google has made a space in billions of people’s lives worldwide as the go-to search engine to answer their queries. From using it to learn “how to make a pecan pie” to diagnosing illnesses by inputting symptoms, Google, with its infamous and complicated ranking algorithm, is all-knowing.
But with innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and the launch of OpenAI’s language generation model ChatGPT, things have changed. The world has been thrown into chaos, and Google’s monopoly among search engines may finally be wavering.
Introduction to ChatGPT and Google’s search engine
The Google Search Engine is now three decades old. The speed, simplicity, and quality of results make Google the most-used search engine on the internet. It uses a search algorithm known as PageRank, which combines technical factors, such as the relevance and popularity of web pages, to rank the results returned for a given query.
The search algorithm takes many factors into account when determining the relevance of a web page. This includes the text, the links, and the relevance of the words in the query.
The algorithm’s intent is to help users find the most useful and informative web pages for their queries. The trustworthiness and relevance of these results, however, are questionable.
ChatGPT, on the other hand, is a natural language generation model by OpenAI. It can be used for various natural language processing tasks. From generating text, answering questions, generating responses to prompts, language translation, and even text summarization, ChatGPT is multifaceted.
A comparison of ChatGPT and Google’s search engine capabilities
Search is a complex task. Google search involves not just understanding natural language queries — but also ranking and organizing the billions of web pages and documents that are indexed on Google. This requires sophisticated algorithms and a deep understanding of the structure of the web, which Google has done through years of research and development.
Let’s go over some of the wide range of tasks that the Google search engine is capable of:
- Web Search: The primary function of Google Search is to help users find information on the web. Users can type in keywords or phrases, and the search engine will return a list of relevant web pages and documents.
- Image Search: This feature allows users to search for images on the internet by keywords.
- News Search: Google Search includes a feature that allows users to find news articles about a specific topic.
- Video Search: It also allows users to search for videos on the internet by keywords.
- Maps and Local Search: This feature enables users to search for businesses, places, and other points of interest and view them on a map.
- Advanced Search: Google Search includes advanced search operators such as ‘site:,’ ‘filetype:,’ ‘intext:’ and many more to help users refine their search results and find the information they need.
ChatGPT, on the other hand, is not explicitly designed for use in search. But even in its primary stage, it has shown tremendous potential in assisting with search. While it can generate text similar to human writing, it is not currently as sophisticated as Google’s search algorithm, which has been developed and refined over many years.
How ChatGPT can improve the Search Experience
It’s currently missing many of the components that make Google’s search so powerful, such as a vast array of data, years of research and development, and a wide range of integrated products and services.
It is worth mentioning that ChatGPT, when used in conjunction with a search engine like Google, can assist in providing more sophisticated results as well as a more interpretable understanding of queried information.
Let’s look at some ways ChatGPT can be of aid when it comes to search.
- Query Understanding: ChatGPT can understand the intent of a user’s query by analyzing the query and generating a summary of what the user is looking for.
- Query Expansion: It can also expand a user’s query by generating similar or related queries.
- Language Translation: Can be fine-tune on a specific language task, allowing it to generate text in a different language than the one it was trained on, providing a more accurate and human-like translation.
- Answer Generation: It can generate answers to natural language questions.
- Text Summarization: ChatGPT can generate summaries of lengthy articles or documents, making it easier for users to find the information they are looking for.
- Text Completion: It can also complete a text based on a given prompt or context.
- Rich Snippet: ChatGPT can generate rich snippets, giving a better visual representation of the result.
- Responding to Voice Queries: ChatGPT can be integrated with voice-enabled devices, allowing it to respond to natural language voice queries and generate spoken responses.
These are just a few examples of how ChatGPT can enhance search. The model can be fine-tune for specific use cases, and its capabilities can extend through integration with other technologies.
Potential uses of ChatGPT in various industries and sectors
ChatGPT and other language models have great potential in many other fields, such as customer support, content creation, summarization, and search. Because of its efficiency, scalability, cost-effectiveness, coherence, and fluency, ChatGPT use cases expand to every major industry.
- Education: ChatGPT can be fine-tune on educational data and knowledge to generate text for exam questions, summaries, and explanations.
- Healthcare: ChatGPT has the ability to use medical data and knowledge to develop medical reports and summaries or answer patients’ questions.
- Legal: Inputting legal data and knowledge in ChatGPT allows it to assist with legal documents, summaries, and contract reviews.
- E-commerce: Can effectively generate product descriptions and customer reviews. It can also power chatbots to help customers find the products they are looking for and make purchase decisions.
- Customer Service: ChatGPT can facilitate chatbot or virtual assistants that can answer customer questions, providing quick and accurate responses 24/7.
Potential threats Google may face with the development of AI Models
Language generation is a rapidly evolving field, and ChatGPT comes with certain unique abilities. These may cause problems for Google. Let’s find out how this works.
- Automation of content creation: One of the key benefits of ChatGPT is its ability to generate human-like text. This could lead to the automation of certain content creation tasks. News articles, product descriptions, and customer reviews — can all be AI-generated, making it difficult for Google to discern between them. The lack of being able to actually tell the difference between real and AI throws the Google ranking algorithm into chaos.
- Personalization: ChatGPT can be fine-tuned on specific tasks and can generate customizable text for a particular context. While Google search is more general and not tailored to specific use cases.
- Competition in the advertising industry: Google generates a significant portion of its revenue through advertising. ChatGPT, however, can generate ad copy, potentially leading to increased competition in the advertising industry.
- Quality of results: Google’s search results rank by relevance. However, ChatGPT can provide results that humans prefer as they are in a conversational tone. This makes ChatGPT more efficient for Google’s search results.
- Reducing the need for Google search: ChatGPT can be fine-tuned on specific tasks and generate human-like text. This reduces the need for users to rely on Google Search for certain types of information.
The current state and future potential of ChatGPT and Google’s search engine
Google has created its own transformation-based language model, LaMDA. However, Google has been very cautious about making it available to the masses. OpenAI, on the other hand, has readily made ChatGPT available as a research preview, with the program gaining 1 million users in just five days.
ChatGPT has done a brilliant job of highlighting the capabilities of current AI. Head of Google’s AI, Jeff Dean, said the company has much more “reputational risk” in providing wrong information and thus is moving “more conservatively than a small startup.”
They went on to say that they had similar capabilities but much more to lose because people have to trust the answers they get from Google, which is not always the case with ChatGPT, as OpenAI has explicitly stated that ChatGPT “sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”
It is also important to note that ChatGPT, like any other machine learning model, is not a silver bullet. This means that its performance depends on the data it’s trained on and the specific task it’s used for.
A search engine like Google needs to understand the intent of a user’s query and then provide relevant results. However, ChatGPT can generate text similar to human writing but is not fully able to carry out the former.
Additionally, GPT-3 and its variants are only open for some to use, as it requires API access which is not available for free. Thus there are limitations to its ability. Only large enterprises can afford it right now. Which also limits its potential to pose a real threat to Google in search.
Conclusion: Is ChatGPT a viable threat to Google’s dominance in search?
Google is now live for more than 30 years, which has advanced its algorithms and capabilities. Additionally, Google has a vast array of data at its disposal. This allows it to continuously improve its search algorithms and provide more accurate and relevant results.
Google also has a wide range of other products and services. Google Maps, Images, and YouTube play a vital role in the search experience. This integration of Google products provides a comprehensive search experience to its users.
ChatGPT is not currently a direct threat to Google’s dominance, but it can be a potential tool to assist the future search experience. Research is done in this area, but there is much more to search for. It’s not an easy task, but it’s a possible one.
With further innovations, ChatGPT could be major competition to the decades of monopoly Google has been enjoying over search engines. The release and potential success or failure of LaMDA also play a crucial role in determining whether Google will be able to continue asserting this dominance as ChatGPT and other natural-language generation models are wreaking havoc in the digital sphere.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi; Pexels; Thank you!