Why Google and others are ‘freaking out’ about ChatGPT right now

The recent articles about Google’s concern around ChatGPT (‘Google is freaking out about ChatGPT’) and the reason why other’s like Microsoft have just announced Bing integrated with ChatGPT is not what you might think at first. There’s a deeper concern about how this tech is going to change everything from this point onwards.

Yes, the tech is impressive, even if it doesn’t always generate factually correct responses. The weird thing about this in software development communities online, especially groups focused on supporting new developers, is the examples of it being used are where new developers are using the tech to help them find examples to answer ‘how do I…?’ or ‘show me an example of …?’ type questions. The generated responses can be mostly correct, with text generated from source material that the model has been trained on, but the shocking realization of these examples shared online is that you could have found exactly the same content if you Googled for it.

This is why Google is worried. Not that they don’t have a comparable product readily available right now. They’re worried that traditional search traffic and therefore ad revenue suddenly has an alternative, one that is gaining a lot of interest and hype, and maybe for the first time in years, suddenly there is a threat that search traffic that would have previously gone to Google is now going to go somewhere else.

Microsoft’s announcement yesterday that they are adding ChatGPT integration into their Bing search engine hits the nail on the head. They didn’t announce a page where you can go and ask weird questions, they’re building it in to their search engine.

There’s something fundamentally game changing to the search (and ad venue) )industry about this. Instead of searching for key words and phrases like we’ve all got used to now for years, being able to ask a vague question on a topic and get what you’re looking for is a game changer. Instead of searching for links to content on other websites that have been indexed, you can now search knowledge and ask questions in a conversational style to find the information you’re looking for. That is a game changer.

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