Google announced on Wednesday that it will soon add generative artificial intelligence capabilities to search results, a day after Microsoft unveiled plans to integrate responses similar to those produced by the ChatGPT chatbot into its Bing search engine.
Adding generative AI — which creates text or visual responses like a human — to online searches would allow Google to retain users on its platform, providing personalized answers to user questions and protecting its business by selling advertising space.
Google said generative AI will allow users to interact with information in “entirely new ways”.
“It can help a baker collaborate with a customer on a cake design, or a toy maker dream up a new creation,” Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan said at an event in Paris.
“As we continue to bring generative AI technologies into our products, the only limit to research will be your imagination.”
Google on Monday unveiled its “Bard” chatbot service, eyeing the risk that ChatGPT could change the way users search for information on the internet, which would hurt its advertising sales business.
Bard is only available to a few “trusted external partners”, but the launch has already run into problems as Google’s own online advertisement showed the chatbot providing inaccurate responses.
Microsoft-backed San Francisco-based OpenAI opened its ChatGPT chatbot to free public testing in November. The tool gained popularity within days and Microsoft now plans to use the technology to power its Bing search engine.
Analysts have raised concerns that an integration with Bing could alienate users from Google’s search engine, which generated more than $100 billion in revenue last year. The advertising business is Alphabet’s biggest revenue generator, accounting for about 80% of the company’s annual revenue.
Microsoft expects that every percentage point of share it gains will bring in $2 billion in search advertising revenue.
The battle for artificial intelligence is heating up as the European Union prepares to regulate the technology through its own AI Act.
In addition to searches, Google also introduced several improvements to Maps, internal views, image search and translation — all using artificial intelligence capabilities in some way.
“AI is also making it much more natural to understand and explore the real world,” said Raghavan.
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