Opinion: Google has long been the undisputed king of search engines.
According Statistics counterGoogle took at least 90% of the search engine market share in 2022. The second largest search engine was Microsoft’s Bing, which only took around 3% of the market.
Google has absolutely dominated the search engine space, while Microsoft Bing has become something of a laughing stock. And for many years, it was hard to see how Microsoft could ever seek a serious challenge – but that may be about to change.
This week, Microsoft revealed that it would integrate ChatGPT in its Bing search engine. For those who don’t know, ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot that was trained with a huge set of data gathered from the internet. Think of it as a smart assistant like Amazon Alexa or Siri, but with the ability to answer almost any question in incredible detail.
What is the best way to cook rice? ChatGPT has the answers. Want to know the opening paragraph of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? ChatGPT can publish it in seconds. Need advice on which gaming laptop you can buy? ChatGPT is up to my job, able to produce a list of recommendations at a glance.
ChatGPT can even write an entire article for you upon request. I asked him to write an opinion piece about himself, which you can check out in the screenshot below:
By integrating ChatGPT into Bing, Microsoft offers the possibility of using the chatbot to answer all your questions rather than browsing through a list of search results. And if ChatGPT’s answer isn’t detailed enough, or if you don’t trust a chatbot’s judgment, you can always use Bing’s traditional search engine. As a result, Bing feels much more versatile than Google.
Google is working on its own AI chatbot called Bard. But it doesn’t seem as developed as ChatGPT, seemingly limited to providing simple answers and unable to write entire reports or lines of code on demand.
Google Bard too made a big mistake when it launched, falsely claiming that the James Webb Space Telescope was the first to take pictures of Earth outside our solar system. It’s too early to tell which is the best AI chatbot right now, but it looks like ChatGPT has the edge.
But before we get too excited about this AI arms race, I have many concerns with AI chatbots. As seen with Google Bard, they can produce errors. If there are misrepresentations on the web, it is possible that chatbots could spread this misinformation without a thorough fact-checking process.
ChatGPT also has limited knowledge of events occurring after 2021. OpenAI has already confirmed that it will constantly update and expand this data set, but traditional search results will always be more useful for breaking news, whether it is is about the launch of a new iPhone. or the results of a political vote.
And it’s also important to remember that an AI-powered ChatGPT can show bias. A lot of people assume that the AI will be completely neutral, but that’s not the case. In fact, when I asked ChatGPT if it had any biases, it replied, “The data I was trained on reflects the biases and limitations of the data sources it was trained on, including author biases and information that was present at the time of the training. This means that I may unintentionally generate output that reflects harmful biases or stereotypes.”
With so many limitations, AI-powered chatbots are unable to fully replace search engines. We always need authoritative journalism that we can trust has been fact-checked, as well as a wide variety of opinions – for example, a chatbot’s analysis of a product will never be as useful as a review from someone who has actually used it.
But there’s no denying that the likes of ChatGPT will be incredibly useful for a wide range of scenarios. This technology is so powerful that it could very well change the way we use search engines and browse the Internet – that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago.
Even more shocking is the idea that Microsoft Bing could become the go-to search engine in the future, especially since Google took 90% of the market share last year. But with the powers of ChatGPT, anything is possible.
Ctrl + Alt + Del is our weekly IT-focused opinion column where we dig deep into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon.