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Google might be hitting the panic button to protect Search from ChatGPT

Google is preparing itself for the possibility of disastrous industry disruption.
By
December 22, 2022
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Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Google sees the sudden rise in the popularity of AI tools as potentially the biggest threat to its Search business in years.
  • CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly stopped the work of numerous groups within the company to address this threat.
  • Google’s own chatbot could rival competitors like ChatGPT, but it could also cannibalize its ad business model.

The sudden rise in the popularity of AI tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E has Google scrambling to protect the future of the company. The Mountain View-based organization fears that this could be the start of something that may ultimately upend its business.

According to a recent report from The New York Times, Google’s executives see ChatGPT as a major threat to its Search business. The situation appears to be so critical that management has supposedly declared a “code red.” CEO Sundar Pichai has even reportedly begun pulling teams off of their existing projects to focus on building AI products.

Google’s fear of ChatGPT stems from the tool’s ability to provide information from a simple user prompt. Its strength lies in its ability to provide answers and deliver suggestions instead of just giving you a list of links. However, the tool is experimental and far from perfect as it is prone to delivering false or toxic information.

Despite its issues, the tool has shown that it could eventually become an industry disruptor. But Google doesn’t want to sit around and wait to see what happens.

As The New York Times points out, Google already has a chatbot that could compete with ChatGPT called Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). You may have heard about it earlier this year when it made headlines after a former Google employee claimed the bot was sentient.

The only problem with perfecting and releasing LaMDA, as The New York Times mentions, is the worry that the bot could cannibalize Google’s search ad business model. If users are getting tight responses that provide exactly what they’re looking for, it would give those users less of a reason to click on advertising links.

Whatever Google decides to do about this perceived threat to its business, it likely won’t have to rush anything out right away. As mentioned earlier ChatGPT is far from perfect, often failing to provide accurate answers or delivering biased or offensive results to queries. It will take time for those wrinkles to be ironed out.