Ever since ChatGPT was released to the public in November 2022, a feeling of uncertainty and opportunity swept the digital world. Within a couple of days, millions of users were using the tool, testing its limits and capabilities. This led to Microsoft seeing its potential to enhance its own products, namely Bing and Edge, which was followed by Google launching an internal “Code Red.”
ChatGPT is an advanced artificial intelligence language model developed by OpenAI. It can engage in conversation and answer a multitude of questions. It is also constantly learning and updating its knowledge base through the information available on the internet. It is said to have digested all of the data available on Wikipedia and countless books.
This tool has the potential to change the game of search on the internet, and Google is aware of that.
Microsoft seized the opportunity and has since announced its intention to invest $10 billion (€9.33 billion) in the company behind ChatGPT, and formalised an extended partnership with the company.
Two of Microsoft’s intentions with ChatGPT were to integrate it into Bing search, and Edge browser.
Currently, Google holds over 90 per cent of the search engine market share, and over 65 per cent of the browser market share. Meanwhile, Microsoft only holds around three per cent of the search engine market share, and under five per cent of users use Edge as their main browser.
Therefore there’s significant room for growth and Microsoft looks poised to recapture some of the market share through OpenAI’s technology.
Just weeks after the partnership was announced, Microsoft has already integrated ChatGPT into their search engine Bing, and browser Edge. While access to some features still requires most users to be put on a waiting list, it looks promising.
Google’s developers appear to have gone into overdrive and made their own advanced AI language model public, called Bard AI. They revealed their tool on 6th February 2023, but not without hiccups.
An advert promoting Google’s Bard AI gave the wrong answer to a query, which led to $100 billion (€93.1 billion) being wiped off the company’s value on the stock market.
Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics → https://t.co/fSp531xKy3 pic.twitter.com/JecHXVmt8l— Google (@Google) February 6, 2023
Another competitor is Baidu, a Chinese-based search engine which aims to release its answer to ChatGPT in March 2023, called Ernie Bot.
Dark Horse – TikTok taking over Gen Z’s attention
According to Google’s research, nearly 40 per cent of Generation Z (born 1996 – 2012), prefer using TikTok for search instead of Google. The share is expected to keep growing. If TikTok were to also integrate its own ChatGPT-style tool, it could be another formidable competitor.
It has been just over two months since ChatGPT became public, and the digital space went from having absolute confidence that Google will dominate search and browsers for the foreseeable future, to uncertainty on what either of those things will look like, let alone who will dominate them.
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