Google’s moat has always been its AI expertise. Google Search accuracy, targeted Ads delivery, Gmail spam, YouTube content, etc., are all impressive products because of AI. But these are all backend use cases of AI. And we’re now in the era of consumer-facing AI applications with the Generative AI movement.
Google needs to make a big splash and respond on the AI front in 2023, or they risk losing their AI dominance (and maybe even their core Search product).
Why is Generative AI an attack on Google’s businesses?
Generative AI Pressures Google
In a previous Everydays, How ChatGPT Will Change the Blogging Business, I discussed the growing base of people using ChatGPT instead of Google Search because it fundamentally changes the search relationship. Instead of delivering you a list of web pages to visit for your answer, the AI gives you an answer in plain text. Of course, there are some problems with this today:
ChatGPT tends to make things up, which isn’t great for a search engine. But if you look past its knowledge mistakes today, the bigger picture is the fundamental improvement to the search experience ChatGPT provides:
Google search results are based on corporate content creation, and corporate content creation is not designed to make you feel good. It’s designed to make you click and buy something. ChatGPT doesn’t want to sell you something, it wants to help you. – Jason Calacanis
Even Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, says in the interview below that he believes someone will use their API (or build a language model themselves) to go after Google’s core Search business in the next few years. And it’ll be the first serious competition to Google in decades.
Along with the improvement to the search experience, ChatGPT is a threat to Google because of how fast it has grown too. Over a million users in 5 days. Fastest platform to achieve that feat. And OpenAI has a massively-anticipated update in their pipeline.
In 2023, AI observers are eagerly anticipating the release of GPT4. Some AI observers predict that the next version of GPT will have 100 trillion parameters, about 500 times the size of GPT-3. This would allow for more accurate, detailed responses.
AI developer Linus Ekenstam wrote on Twitter that the new model has “the potential to revolutionize the way hundreds of millions of knowledge workers do their jobs.” – Forbes
OpenAI is moving fast on this front. Interestingly, Microsoft is working with OpenAI to improve its Bing search engine using the ChatGPT language model. They partnered with Meta on the metaverse and with OpenAI on AI. Microsoft is winning!
According to The Information, the tech giant is planning to incorporate the OpenAI software powering ChatGPT into Bing in hopes that it can help the company catch up to (or maybe even outshine) Google. Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI back in 2019. – Engadget
Google Can’t Fumble This
Google can’t drop the ball on AI like it dropped the ball on messaging with its countless failed communication apps. I have confidence, though, because Google has long had an advantage over AI researchers and knows how to craft great products that cater to creators.
Between YouTube and Google Search, Google has excelled at setting a standard for creators to follow. Whether that’s the SEO best practices for distributing written/video content, the AMP format for news, or thumbnail design and titling. We’re talking about billions of people who’ve followed a Google guideline for creating content. Google knows how to work with creators.
Ultimately, the battle over users in the Generative AI market comes down to enabling creators. Which platform best enables creators to augment or automate their work? Those are the ones that will win.
OpenAI is raising a class of Prompt Engineers that can operate in this written prompt interface. But this also shackles AI’s abilities to your own prompt writing abilities. Vocabulary, directions, and colorful wordplay are the skillset of this future career.
Obviously, this could prove limiting to millions of creators that don’t have proficient written capabilities.
Thus, this may not even be the interface to enable a billion people to use Generative AI. Perhaps Google has a card up its sleeve.
A few weeks later, Calacanis shared an anonymous, randomly obtained email, with someone writing, “Knowledgeable people tell me Google is four years ahead of ChatGPT. They have not released it because of the political ramifications of dramatic job losses, etc. from this technology.” – Forbes
Remember when this past summer, a Google engineer sounded the alarm over concerns their AI program was imitating humans? Perhaps there is a ChatGPT-like product in the works at Google after all.