Many of us use Google pretty much every day. In fact, “googling” is a dictionary word. But, more recently, there are rumors that a new kid on the block has their eyes on Google’s throne. That kid is ChatGPT. You can find stories all over the Internet suggesting that ChatGPT is on its way to becoming the “Google killer” or the “new Google”. Or, perhaps ChatGPT could become a perfect complement to Google in meeting our demands for information.
As part of our research on this topic, we decided to pose these questions to ChatGPT itself. Here are the key takeaways from our interaction:
- ChatGPT’s ability to understand context is a key advantage over traditional search engines.
- As a result of that, ChatGPT can become the primary source of information on the Internet, giving direct and accurate answers rather than a list of links (i.e., Google results).
- However, ChatGPT is not a better substitute for Google as the latter offers many other services beyond information retrieval.
- There is a risk that ChatGPT would propagate problematic features of the text it has been trained on.
- Quality control and privacy concerns are weaknesses for both ChatGPT and Google.
Before moving on to a detailed discussion of these points, feel free to watch the video below, which is a recording of our conversation with ChatGPT.
Will ChatGPT replace Google in the future?
There is no doubt that Google is feeling threatened by ChatGPT’s capabilities and the hype that it has been generating. The company has already announced that AI is one of its key priorities .
So, we began our conversation with ChatGPT with some short and direct questions:
Is ChatGPT the “Google killer”?
No, … Google is a search engine and technology company with a wide range of products and services, while ChatGPT is a tool that can be used to improve those products and services. (Figure 1)
Will ChatGPT become the “new Google”?
While ChatGPT has the potential to be integrated into various applications and improve them, it is not intended to be a replacement for a company like Google. (Figure 1)
Then, we requested ChatGPT to compose a 600-word essay on how ChatGPT might replace Google in the future. In its response, it highlighted its ability to “understand context” as a “significant advantage over traditional search engines,” and added that:
One way in which ChatGPT could replace Google is by becoming the primary source of information on the internet. By using its natural language understanding capabilities, ChatGPT could provide direct and accurate answers to user queries, rather than a list of links. (Figure 2)
Moreover, it argued that it can add more value in areas such as machine translation and e-commerce as well. However, it admitted that:
Google has a lot more going on than just information retrieval and search services, it has a wide range of products and services … and it’s unlikely that ChatGPT would be able to replace all of them… Additionally, there are concerns about the potential for ChatGPT to perpetuate biases and stereotypes that are present in the data it was trained on. (Figure 3)
The strengths and weaknesses of ChatGPT and Google compared
As a final query, we entered the following:
Can you further elaborate on the “strengths” and “weaknesses” of ChatGPT relative to Google?
Here is what we got as a response in table form:
|Strengths||#1 Natural language understanding |
#2 Context awareness
#3 Versatility (ability to be integrated into other apps)
|#1 A broad spectrum of products and services|
#2 Relevance and accuracy of results
#3 Personalization (based on user’s location, history, etc.)
|Weaknesses||#1 Limited scope (no other services such as email, storage, etc.)|
#2 Ethical and privacy concerns
#3 Quality control
|#1 Privacy concerns|
#2 Quality control
#3 Limited flexibility
These points generally match those discussed in the first part of this post. It is interesting to note that “privacy concerns” and “quality control” are included among the weaknesses of both services. Otherwise, Google’s strength #1 matches up with ChatGPT’s weakness #1, and its weakness #3 is the latter’s strength #3.
It is yet too early to see what future lies ahead of ChatGPT and whether it will challenge Google’s domain and will become the “Google killer”. Google has started speeding up the work on its own AI products, and we’ll find out how those products will compare with ChatGPT. There is also room for optimism that ChatGPT can serve as a useful complement to Google rather than becoming a substitute. We need to wait and see.
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