Microsoft and ChatGPT may already have the early mover advantage in developing AI models that promise to transform web search and transform digitization. But Google’s bard could eventually win the race as the search engine leader has the core competencies and synergies to bring AI to the masses.
In every emerging industry, there are the “pioneers” who create new products and the “colonizers” who scale the innovations and bring them to the mass market. In the case of AI, OpenAI and Microsoft are the pioneers in developing and adopting ChatGPT for the search engine industry.
“Microsoft is positioning its next version of Bing as a search powered by ChatGPT++ called Prometheus and promising to offer more relevant search results,” Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis Sapient, a leading digital transformation consultancy, told the International Business Times.
“It’s also fascinating how quickly Microsoft has integrated an AI-powered Bing homepage for people to chat with, especially as ChatGPT has shown limitations in niche or focused question domains,” he added. “Exact questions can lead to very general answers.”
This makes Nigel skeptical about the future of the Microsoft ChatGPT venture.
“We need to see what feedback loop Microsoft can build in to help ChatGPT learn and improve, and how search data will help ChatGPT include more content from trusted sources,” he added.
Meanwhile, Nigel sees Google, the colonizer, as having a better chance of bringing its new AI model, BARD, to the broader market.
“Much attention has been paid to ChatGPT posing a ‘threat’ to Google’s search products,” he said. “But with BARD, Google isn’t just responding to OpenAI’s products, it’s making it clear that much of ChatGPT’s technical prowess – the “T” in ChatGPT – is based on the transformers that Google’s AI scientists have developed. The expectation is that BARD’s underlying technology will be at least as good as ChatGPT.”
Nigel sees another advantage Google has in the company’s foray into AI models: its dataset isn’t limited to data from 2021; that is, if it can combine indexing, interpretation, and the emergence of new data to generate more interesting answers.
Aaron Rafferty, CEO of Standard DAO and co-founder of BattlePACs, also sees Google’s data advantage, which means BARD could provide results more relevant to users than Microsoft.
“Regardless, inputs are essential for both models, and we could see significantly different use cases given what inputs each company provides,” he told IBT.
Still, Dan Pacheco, holder of the Peter A. Horvitz Chair in Journalism Innovation at the Newhouse School, sees a difficult task for Google because of Clayton Christensen’s innovator’s dilemma.
“A large part of their revenue comes from using the inefficiency of a large number of web results to sell sponsored results, and the payment is made by clicks,” he told IBT. “Will this paradigm work if people expect instant answers from a chatbot, which I think they will because it’s so much more efficient than digging through pages with links? In addition, the calculations for generative AI are many times more expensive than a search. So not only does Google need to find new ways to make money that doesn’t depend on links, but they need to generate even more revenue to pay for server costs.”
Saul Hudson, co-founder of Angle42, believes Google needs to overhaul its search to adapt to the new model.
“And for the first time in decades, it’s catching up. With ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing is revived in one fell swoop and becomes a real competitor. No wonder Google got scared and activated a Code Red,” he told IBT.
What does ChatGPT say about the race between Microsoft and Google for supremacy in the AI race? It’s too early to draw any conclusions.
“Overall, Microsoft and ChatGPT are making some notable strides in the search engine market, but it remains to be seen if they will change the game significantly. Google has such a dominant position in the market that it will likely take a lot more than incremental improvements to unseat it from its throne,” Hudson said.