For the past 25 years, online search has been dominated by Google, but it seems that a profound reset is on the horizon, thanks to the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). The conventional search and click method, made ubiquitous by Google, is undergoing a major transformation as AI-powered bots such as ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing redefine how millions of web users seek answers to their queries.
“People are realizing that they use Google search not just to find webpages, but to seek answers to their questions,” explained Stefan Sigg, Chief Product Officer at Germany-based Software AG.
Microsoft, often considered the more conservative player in the tech industry, has fearlessly delved into generative AI search with a significant update to Bing, its long-struggling alternative to Google. Bing’s bot, after three months of testing, now directly responds to queries instead of presenting a list of links for users to navigate.
Through prompts, Bing can compare products, brainstorm vacation plans, or assist with job interview preparations, among other tasks. “Now, search does the heavy lifting for you,” said Cathy Edwards, VP Engineering at Google, during the company’s annual I/O developers conference.
This shift also aligns with Google’s approach, as the company showcased its latest iteration of the web search engine at the conference. Rather than displaying a multitude of links, Google’s AI-powered search engine presents a chatbot that provides concise paragraphs to answer users’ queries. The company plans to gradually release this enhanced search engine in the United States.
“Our goal is to make search more natural and intuitive, as easy as asking a knowledgeable friend any question you have in the world,” said Elizabeth Reid, Vice President of Search at Google.
Beyond search, both Google and Microsoft have integrated generative AI into various products, from cloud services to word processing. They present these AI-powered bots as helpful “co-pilots,” emphasizing their ability to assist users throughout their digital experiences.
The future of online search is being reshaped by AI, promising more efficient and personalized search results. As technology continues to advance, AI-powered search engines like Google and Bing are set to revolutionize the way users find information and interact with the digital world.
16 May 2023