Generative AI will forever change Google’s dominance of search business

Google search on a mobile phone

You may have heard how Google recently declared a “code red” internally after the launch and explosive success of ChatGPT. Can you blame them? Google has dominated the search business for years, and has littered search results with ads that generate billions of dollars in revenues for the company. And they’ve used their dominant position to squeeze out complimentary services such as travel options, movie times, etc.

Generative AI and chatbots change the game

Google’s search business is feeling the heat from generative AI and chatbots. As technology advances, these tools are becoming increasingly more sophisticated – and they’re giving Google a run for its money! Generative AI can create content that sounds just like it was written by humans, while chatbots can provide helpful answers to everyday questions in an instant. These advancements mean that users have more options at their fingertips when conducting searches, making it harder for Google to remain on top.

Think about it – why do a Google search and have to sift through ranked websites for an answer when you can get the answer from a chatbot that is produced through generative AI?

In the short term, accuracy is an issue, but we all know this problem will be solved quickly. Already, we’ve seen a tremendous leap in capability with the release of GPT-4, which performs much better than the already impressive GPT-3.

Innovator’s Dilemma

Google faces the ultimate innovator’s dilemma. They’ve had this AI capability, but they’ve naturally kept it under wraps, knowing that its release would pose a threat to their current business model.

Now, with the release of ChatGPT, Google doesn’t have a choice. They will soon be releasing its own AI chatbot called Bard, which is now being used by testers. The company is also starting to ad more AI capability into tools such as Gmail and Google Docs.

Microsoft sees an opportunity for Bing

Microsoft’s search business has been a dud for years, but now the company sees real opportunity with generative AI and chatbots. They released a new version of Bing which allows users to toggle between conventional search results and results generated by a chatbot, which comes with references for further investigation by the user.

Give it a try and you’ll see in real time why Google is facing a real threat. The days of relying primarily on traditional Google-style web searches are over. Of course those types of searches ill still be popular. People want to find website and tools that are useful, entertaining or informative. But sometimes they just want an answer, and the new chatbots will eat into Google’s market share and inevitably threaten revenues.

These technologies enable users to ask questions in plain language and receive accurate answers with minimal effort. This threatens Google’s market dominance as users become accustomed to more conversational means of searching for information online. Additionally, traditional web search relies on keywords, while NLP-based systems can understand the context behind a query and provide results that better match a user’s intent. This decreases the need for users to manually refine their searches by providing more relevant results faster. As these technologies become increasingly sophisticated, they could potentially reduce demand for Google’s services and erode its position as one of the world’s leading search providers.

Google’s arrogance

Many argue that Google has abused its market dominance in search over the years. Partners in the AdSense business are sometimes treated with contempt as Google will shut down ad partnerships based on violations that are never explained. And of course you can never speak with anyone at Google to ask a question.

On the search side, Google seems to relish changing the algorithm to thwart websites who are doing well with current search results. Of course Google should be consistently improving the system, and they can’t be beholden to users who game the algorithm. But too often their changes penalize small but honest content providers and retailers in favor of massive websites and brands. Also, Google allowed the adult industry to swarm and overtake so many content websites.

It’s even worse with photos, as Google held copyright holders in contempt, and allowed their Google image searches to be gamed by message boards and bad actors who copied photos and gamed the search engine.

Voice

As for generative AI and chatbots, we’re only scratching the surface of their capabilities. Soon these detailed answers will be available with voice prompts and synthetic voice responses. Services like Siri and Alexa are primitive compared to what’s coming next. Imagine how Google’s search business is threatened simply by removing a large portion of searches from our screens altogether?

Conclusion

The destruction of Google’s dominance of search will be better for consumers. They’ll have so many more options, and frankly will get better answers. And finally, Google may be forced to provide better search results to its users once the company has real competition for our attention.

  

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