The rapid rise of OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, has raised concerns about the future of search engines like Google. Gmail creator Paul Buchheit recently tweeted that he believes Google’s business will only last for a maximum of two years. Since its launch in November, ChatGPT has become the go-to destination for millions of users looking to ask questions. ChatGPT’s conversational style of answering has made it more user-friendly and easier for follow-up questions.
Google’s search engine is the backbone of its business and its future is now in doubt. As Buchheit stated, AI technology like ChatGPT could eliminate the need for search engine result pages, which is where Google generates most of its revenue. Google charges advertisers to display their products and services next to search results, increasing the chances of the provider being discovered. In 2021, the company recorded over $250 billion in revenue, its highest ever in its nearly 25-year history.
However, with the introduction of ChatGPT, Google’s search engine could become irrelevant as users flock to the chatbot for more straightforward answers. Although Google could quickly launch AI products developed in-house, Paul Buchheit does not see a way to do so without destroying the most valuable part of its business.
ChatGPT has made rapid progress, from writing poetry to coding and even passing MBA exams at the Wharton School of Business. Microsoft has also invested in ChatGPT, looking to incorporate its abilities into its own search engine and potentially overtake Google as the search leader.
When asked about its potential impact on Google’s search business, ChatGPT replied that it does not see its existence as having an impact. However, it must be noted that ChatGPT’s responses are based on training data, and it’s possible that the engineers trained the chatbot to handle such queries without appearing too confident.
The next couple of years will determine whether OpenAI is playing down ChatGPT’s capabilities or whether Google will survive and coexist with ChatGPT and other AI technology. The future of search engines is uncertain, and only time will tell.