War between the two tech giants seems inevitable. At stake is the future of search engines.
After several years of peace, the tech giants Microsoft and Google have taken out the boxing gloves.
And the future of search engines in the age of artificial intelligence is at stake.
Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Free Report sees the new generation of chatbots as an opportunity to redistribute the cards in the search-engine industry, which over the past decade has been dominated by Google (GOOGL) – Get Free Report.
As the Redmond, Wash., software giant sent invitations to journalists inviting them to a last-minute event on Feb. 7, Google tried to torpedo its rival’s plans and draw coverage to itself.
Indeed, the Mountain View, Calif., search, cloud and advertising company has suddenly lifted the veil on its new conversational robot.
ChatGPT (MSFT) vs. Bard (GOOGL)
Alphabet’s tech, called Bard, is a direct rival to ChatGPT, which has become the center of almost every tech-related conversation since it was introduced at the end of November.
In addition, Google has also announced an event to talk about AI. That’s scheduled for Feb. 8, 24 hours after Microsoft’s event.
Basically, Alphabet, led by CEO Sundar Pichai, wants people to forget about the Microsoft event, by making announcements just before and just after it.
The two companies are fiercely competing to determine the next generation of internet search. They both want to be the first avenue on which consumers travel to research any topic.
In a little over two months, ChatGPT has shown the future of search engines: shorter, more concise results, and exact answers to the questions people ask, instead of the current collection of links. Up to now, a user has had to scan the links and click on the ones that most likely would answer the question posed.
The new AI-powered search engines are also more humanlike enabling conversational interaction with the user. This significantly reduces the time required for a search, increasing efficiency.
ChatGPT — the name stands for generative pretrained transformer — is an artificial intelligence chatbot service run by a nonprofit research organization called OpenAI. It was created as a democratized artificial intelligence service and has virtually limitless possibilities for productivity — and for error.
What is innovative is the fact that this artificial-intelligence interface is perfectly at ease in a conversational mode: You can ask a lot of questions one after the other and expect clear answers. It is a generalist robot: You can ask ChatGPT to write a film script, the plan for a thesis, or a computer code.
One of ChatGPT’s skills is its ability to break down a complex task into several small elementary tasks, as a computer program would do, to facilitate solutions for human users.
Two Competing Events
From the teaser Google presented on Feb. 6, the Bard chatbot can respond to queries just as ChatGPT can.
“Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills,” Pichai said in a blog post.
Bard also “draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses,” which means that the robot may answer queries about recent events, something ChatGPT is having problems doing.
Microsoft is expected to announce a new version of its Bing search engine with a ChatGPT-like interface that will answer queries in a way no search engine has done before. It won’t be about showing a list of links anymore.
A leak last week suggested that during the Feb. 7 event MSFT will announce that Bing-ChatGPT will be immediately available to the general public. Starting Feb. 8 consumers searching via Bing will be able to see results similar to the answers offered by ChatGPT. If so, Microsoft would be putting enormous pressure on Google.
Bing was the world’s second most popular search engine in 2022 — with a measly 3.04% market share, according to Statcounter. That’s far behind Google, with about 92.6% of the market. Yahoo came in third with 1.24% of the search market followed by the Russian search engine Yandex with 1%.
The war between the two tech giants is also happening within the technology of their respective chatbots. ChatGPT is based on GPT-3.5, a large language model. But rumor suggests that Bing will be based on a GPT-4 model, which is even more powerful.
Bard is underpinned by LaMDA, an in-house language model. Alphabet/Google has often been very cautious with AI out of concern for the risks the technology poses to its image.
Specifically, experts have warned against potential risks linked to the intentions of its human creators. The language models GPT-3.5 and LaMDA are known to spew hate speech and false information.
“We need to be very careful about the downsides, ranging from the need to address IP ownership, the rights of original content owners, the people behind generative AI-driven content and more,” Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager for security and collaboration at Cisco, (CSCO) – Get Free Report told TheStreet on Feb.1.
“To me the biggest risk is humans with bad intentions. Imagine if AI could understand emotion and started having emotion itself with negative intentions taught by its human creators. You can’t even imagine the consequences of this.”
‘Gmail Man’ Parody Video and the Responses
AI rekindles the war between Google and Microsoft. In the past the software giant had run ads in the newspapers attacking Google about privacy concerns. Microsoft even made a parody video called “Mail Man” in 2012 and had anti-Google merchandise. Google blocked a YouTube version for Windows Phone. Microsoft made Google Maps nonfunctional on Windows phones.
The two companies then made peace — until last April. Google then accused Microsoft of threatening the way the open web works.
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This story was originally published February 7, 2023 10:02 AM.
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