ChatGPT Gets Code Red! Is Google Scared of the Bot’s Dominance?
ChatGPT is posing Google an existential threat, eating into its search-engine business
Remember times when all you needed as an answer for a Google search was, an ‘irrelevant question’? Well, Google so far didn’t bother to address this issue and so is having nerve-breaking moments now. Thanks to ChatGPT, a chatbot developed that can not only talk, joke, and confess like a human but also decline to answer. The ChatBot gets Red Code for Google, demanding for a complete overhaul of its AI applications. Earlier in November, OpenAI, released its GPT-3.5 language model, ChatGPT, which slowly became a kind of challenge to the existing chatbots in the market. But what came as surprise is, it proved to be capable of disrupting the search engine business. Having ruled the search engine market for 20 long years, it had and would face challenges from chatbots big and small. However, what ChatGPT is posing to Google is an existential threat. As per an anonymous executive’s quote to Newyork Times, it is a make-or-break situation at Google.
Ever since the demo of ChatGPT on 30th November, people are trying everything from producing sonnets about string cheese to Twitter code, fake and real, to faux corporate memos. Given the quality of responses varies from a typical Google answer, it is pretty much reasonable that Google is panicking over a chatBot’s performance, particularly when smart speakers such as Google Dot and the very near sentient LAMDA were believed to become conversational search engines. Speaking to the ‘What Next: TBD’ podcast, founder of Big Technology, Alex Kantrowitz says, “It’s not going to replace search. But even if it takes 5% of Google’s market share, that’s a huge number.” ChatGPT holds the potential to literally wipe out the search box concept making internet search essentially a voice-based search.
Google has so far been reluctant to release LAMDA and other AI applications to the public for fear of losing its credibility due to the bias and toxicity the AI apps are infused with. The fact that the bots are not suitable for delivering digital ads – which account for more than 80 percent of the company’s revenue – may also be the reason for it. As quoted in New York Times report, Amr Awadallah CEO of Vectara, earlier who worked for Yahoo and Google, says “Google has a business model issue. If Google gives you the perfect answer to each query, you won’t click on any ads.”
Google’s approach has always been incremental unlike OpenAI’s aggressive push towards making new products. Building a product over the years is one thing and overhauling it in face of disruptive technology is quite another, if not impossible. Google is to host a major conference in the month of May, supposedly releasing new AI prototypes and products. According to the New York Times Report, it is about to release its chatbot as a cloud computing service for outside businesses, including trust and safety standards for official products and a few prototypes which do not meet the standards with an accompanying warning. As Margaret O’Mara, a professor at the University of Washington who specializes in the history of Silicon Valley puts it, “For companies that have become extraordinarily successful doing one market-defining thing, it is hard to have a second act with something entirely different”, Google perhaps is willing to walk in the trodden path, in the given short time span.