Decoding ChatGPT Part 1 - Will it dethrone Google? Not really, say experts

Photo credit: Owen Beard on Unsplash
Photo credit: Owen Beard on Unsplash

Not long ago, we wrote non-nostalgic elegies to encyclopedias and dictionaries, and what not, thanks to the advent of Internet search engines, with Google being the bellwether. There has been little threat to the domination wielded by Google, not even a trace of a competition, until a new kid on the AI block burst into the scene recently.  

Yes, everyone is jaw-jawing about ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer), the Artificial Intelligent content creator, released two months ago by OpenAI. Its uncanny capability in mimicking human writing has the whole world abuzz. Everyone - from your average joe to the futurist and tech journalist - is overwhelmed at the infinite possibilities of this AI chatbot.

Should Google be worried? 

Google is apparently panicky over ChatGPT. According to a New York Times article, Google has declared “code red over fears ChatGPT could pose a significant threat to its $149-billion-dollar-a-year search business.”

Gmail developer Paul Buchheit had said that Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption. AI will eliminate the Search Engine Result Page, which is where they make most of their money. Even if they catch up on AI, they can't fully deploy it without destroying the most valuable part of their business!” 

So, will this AI chatbot, or any similar me-too applications to be beget by this technology in the day ahead, sound the death-knell for the traditional Internet search model as we know it today?

Two different things

Both are divergent things, and comparing both is not the right way to do, say the analysts and experts Adgully has spoken to. The majority of them feel that ChatGPT, in its current form, is not going to supplant Google search, at least in the foreseeable future.

Saying that ChatGPT is a threat to Google’s search engine is like saying podcasts will replace universities, quips Tristan Greene, US Navy veteran and freelance futurist.

ChatGPT is a lot of fun to play with and, with further development, it may even have a bright future as a digital assistant. But that doesn’t mean chatbots will revolutionize the world’s most popular search engine, much less replace it. For now, they are too slow and too stupid to be useful for much more than entertainment purposes. Saying that ChatGPT is a threat to Google’s search engine is like saying podcasts will replace universities. There’s certainly some user overlap, but the technologies serve entirely different purposes,” he writes in an article.  

According to Greene, models such as ChatGPT are trained to “hallucinate” text. “They don’t search their databases for relevant passages and regurgitate or reword them. Rather, they use a process much like the autocomplete function on your phone to build responses one word at a time,” he says.

No replacement

ChatGPT and Google, while having some similar use cases, are not replacements for each other, points out Siddharth Bhansali, Founder Noesis.Tech, CTO Zoo Media. ChatGPT, according to him, is a language model that focuses on providing information based on a centralised body of knowledge, while Google has the advantage of an ever-expanding decentralized body of knowledge.

This means that there will be certain tasks that ChatGPT can perform better than Google, but Google will have to differentiate and build more value around those types of use cases where ChatGPT's centralised form of data source will not be effective. Additionally, ChatGPT will not always be up to date and may lack the context to deal with real-time events and happenings. While AI like ChatGPT has the potential to disrupt the current internet search model, it is important to acknowledge its limitations and potential biases and use it responsibly,” adds Bhansali.  

Anand Chakravarthy, Chief Growth Officer, Omnicom Media Group India, is optimistic about the future possibilities of ChatGPT.  

“Chat GPT has been trained to create conversational responses to certain kinds of queries, based on what it has been exposed to. The Google Search algorithm, on the other hand, has been trained to crawl the web and obtain access to the most relevant content, including video, text, audio, and images, that addresses your query. This is the fundamental difference between the two.  ChatGPT, although new, has exciting possibilities based on what we see today. It, however, has limitations that will not allow it to completely replace Google Search. What could happen is that as ChatGPT improves, it could replace Google Search for a share of the queries that users make,” says Chakravarthy.

AI has been the talk of the town for the last few years now. However, with the latest entrant ChatGPT, AI has really taken over the discourse like a Tsunami. But interestingly, where are you looking for information about ChatGPT? Google search, right? ChatGPT and Google search are different, one is a highly advanced AI-driven conversational chatbot while the latter is a search engine which provides you with plethora of information to access. ChatGPT will formulate an answer to your query basis all the information it has been reading, but no external links to validate the same, whereas Google search will give you solutions but will leave it to the user to identify what is best suited,” says Chinmay Chandratre, General Manager, Madison Digital.  

According to Chandratre, it is too early to comment if ChatGPT will overthrow Google search. However, he adds, with the initial buzz the AI engine has created, it will certainly probe Google search to re-think on their strategy on maintaining market dominance. 

In the current version, ChatGPT is not competing with Google search, says TRA CEO N Chandra Mouli. He, however, is certain that Google Search will become passe with the merging of internet search with ChatGPT-like capabilities.

They are two different things, with Google search being an engine that brings all the available information on the internet about a specific searched topic, with best possible relevance. ChatGPT, on the other hand, is NLP-based human-level conversational/content tool that is not necessarily accurate, but sounds human-like. That said, its only a matter of time the strength of internet search merges with ChatGPT-like capabilities, and then Google Search will certainly be passe. With Microsoft’s recent investment announcement in openAI, this seems very likely soon,” Mouli explains.

Since its launch in November 2022, OpenAI’s innovation ChatGPT has certainly created a buzz, says Mitesh Kothari, Co-founder and CCO, White Rivers Media.

“While it is true that this advanced level of language model interface will change the face of the digital world, the internet search engine model by Google is a technological giant in itself with its own distinctive offerings. As an agency, we can gain from both the technologies to gather customer preferences and data, generate personalised and targeted messaging, optimise campaigns and create highly impactful content for brand building, and so much more,” says Mitesh Kothari.

Nitin Raj, CEO and Co Founder, Riverum, is not uncertain whether ChatGPT will supersede the current internet search model that is Google search. However, he adds, AI-driven tools such as ChatGPT are demonstrating what web search could be in the future. As AI technology progresses, the possibility of ChatGPT and other AI-powered tools replacing traditional search engines is becoming more likely. We can only wait to see if ChatGPT will become the go-to web search engine.

ChatGPT is an AI-fueled conversation bot created to respond to user inquiries in natural language, says Nitin Raj. According to him, by utilizing natural language processing and comprehension technologies, ChatGPT can quickly provide users with precise answers to their queries.

Initially, it appears that ChatGPT might shake up the present search model and potentially outdo Google search. This is because of its generative AI characteristics that permit it to manufacture content in a few seconds based on existing content, giving users a concise and straightforward response. This could be a great choice for users who are seeking a rapid response to their inquiry.

The main difference between Google and ChatGPT is that Google provides in-depth information on a topic, while ChatGPT provides a brief summary. For someone searching for a quick answer to a query, ChatGPT may be a better option. But for someone looking for an in-depth analysis of a topic, Google will likely remain the preferred choice,” he adds.

It is essential to be aware that although ChatGPT could be a strong alternative to search engines, it has its own downsides, says Nitin Raj. 

For example, ChatGPT is only capable of giving responses to particular inquiries and cannot give general results like a search engine can. Moreover, ChatGPT and other AI-based tools may not be able to keep up with the ever-changing web, since new content is being added all the time. However, it is possible that ChatGPT technology may be employed to supplement Google search results. As an illustration, ChatGPT could be employed to generate a brief summary of a topic that would be shown along with the entire search results. This could assist users to quickly get the information they need without having to go through an extensive list of search results,” he explains.

Hitarth Dadia, Chief Marketing Officer  NOFILTR.GROUP, says that ChatGPT in its current form is not close enough when it comes to replacing Google Search. According to him, it is too early to say whether ChatGPT will replace Google.

“Obviously, you can use ChatGPT in its current form. You can use it to search for a couple of things and get a couple of key pointers, but all of those different layers aren't provided by ChatGPT. It just provides a couple of key pointers, and it's a nice tool to get a gist of everything. There are still a little bit of inaccuracies in the source results, but if you know the technicality on how to actually use and exploit ChatGPT, you obviously get significant results and it's actually mind-blowing. The data-set that they will be using for the next version of ChatGP is significantly bigger than the data-set that they use for this version; so it could go either way. Also, the rate at which this AI tool is improving is incredible. It's not close enough when it comes to replacing Google Search; maybe in the next version it could get closer,” says Hitarth Dadia.

Microsoft and ChatGPT

According to Tristan Greene, ChatGPT-style bots will likely be paired with current search engines to provide a user interface which will serve traditional search engine queries and chatbot prompts. He cites the example of, a boutique search engine, which has its own GPT-like chatbot in December.

No wonder, Microsoft is seizing the opportunity to change its laggard status in online search (Bing accounts for only nine percent of the global search market). The other day Microsoft reportedly invested $10 billion in OpenAI, after its initial infusion of more than $3 billion in the San Francisco-headquartered AI lab. Microsoft intends to tap into OpenAI’s cutting-edge AI, by making the best use of generative artificial intelligence.   

Microsoft is already envisioning an integrated version of its Bing search engine with the AI-powered ChatGPT, says Nikita Bhate, Director - Digital Integration Strategy at Chimp&z Inc.

Microsoft is reportedly planning to integrate a version of its Bing search engine with the AI-powered ChatGPT to answer search queries instead of just displaying a list of links, according to The Information. So definitely this technology will disrupt the current internet search model. ChatGPT is a powerful language model, but it is not designed to replace Google search or any other search engine. Its main purpose is to generate human-like text based on the input it receives. It can be used to assist in various tasks such as question answering, language translation, and text summarization, but it is not intended to replace the vast search capabilities of Google or any other search engine. It does not crawl the web and so it cannot go out there and find the information you need and tell you from where it is sourced, says Nikita. 

AI-ML was being considered to be a future event; with ChatGPT’s launch we can definitely say that AI has arrived in a big way, points out Chinmay Chandratre.

That said, ChatGPT still has a lot of work to do. As per various reports, this chatbot is trained on 45 TB of data and 150+ billion texts which makes it very rich. However, the platform itself claims that it has limited knowledge of the world after 2021. Real power of ChatGPT is actually behind the scenes, which is the algorithm to collect, dissect, and show the relevant conversations that form the basis of the query. Exciting part with AI is that the more data it collects, the more robust results it can give. Safe to say that it is going to be richer with information and and near to perfect with its answers on the back of enormous data collection,” concludes Chandratre.   


(Tomorrow, Part 2 of the report will analyse ChatGPT’s intelligence, its pitfalls, and much more.)


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