Paul Buchheit, 45, a developer who was behind Gmail, believes Google’s search engine dominance could soon be disrupted by ChatGPT
The computer developer who created Gmail is predicting Google may have only a year or two left before ‘total disruption’ of its search engine occurs after the release of a sophisticated chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI).
Last week ChatGPT was released by OpenAI, a company co-founded by Elon Musk in 2015. It responds to text prompts from users and can be asked to write essays, lyrics for songs, stories, marketing pitches, scripts, complaint letters and even poetry.
Its ability to answer complex questions has led some to wonder if it could challenge Google’s search engine monopoly. Critics feel Google’s search engine has been too focused on maximizing revenue through prominent advertising and too cautious about incorporating AI into how it responds to users’ searches.
Paul Buchheit, 45, a developer who was behind Gmail, believes Google’s search engine dominance in particular could soon be disrupted.
‘Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption. AI will eliminate the search engine result page, which is where they make most of their money,’ he tweeted. ‘Even if they catch up on AI, they can’t fully deploy it without destroying the most valuable part of their business!’ he continued.
The fluency and coherence of the results being generated now has those in Silicon Valley wondering about the future of Google’s monopoly
A sign outside Google’s new Bay View campus in June, in Mountain View, California
‘One thing that few people remember is the pre-internet business that Google killed: the Yellow Pages! The Yellow Pages used to be a great business, but then Google got so good that everyone stopped using the Yellow Pages. AI will do the same thing to web search,’ Buchheit said
Gmail developer Paul Buchheit in photos from his Instagram page. In some he’s seen with his wife April
A core way that Google makes money is from advertisers paying to have their links displayed alongside the results of a search query result in the hope that a user clicks on them.
‘The old search engine backend will be used by the AI to gather relevant information and links, which will then be summarized for the user. It’s like asking a professional human researcher to do the work, except the AI will instantly do what would take many minutes for a human,’ Bucheit explained.
‘One thing that few people remember is the pre-internet business that Google killed: the Yellow Pages! The Yellow Pages used to be a great business, but then Google got so good that everyone stopped using the Yellow Pages. AI will do the same thing to web search,’ he said.
Google is developing its own AI and is researching conversational and voice search. The tech company bought DeepMind, an AI company, to further develop such areas.
‘I do think that the biggest and most interesting thing to think about is how this will disrupt the search box. Is there an entirely new interface for search? Yes, that risks Google’s core search business,’ said David Friedberg, a former Google executive and entrepreneur, to the All-In podcast.
Twitter users were praising the capabilities of ChatGPT which can write essays, compose lyrics, make up stories, dream up stories, draft marketing pitches, write scripts, generate complaint letters and write poetry
DailyMail.com asked ChatGPT: ‘Will sophisticated AI chatbots end Google’s search engine dominance?’
ChatGPT gave a long answer, so DailyMail.com asked it for a shorter one. It responded: ‘It is unlikely that AI chatbots, even sophisticated ones, will be able to end Google’s search engine dominance.
‘AI chatbots are designed for specific tasks, while search engines like Google are designed to search vast amounts of information. It is unlikely that AI chatbots will be able to replace search engines in the near future.’
Some have suggested that school homework and exam coursework may more easily be written by a bot.
‘What kid is ever doing homework again now that ChatGPT exists?’ tweeted Liv Boeree, a television presenter.
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