Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have made a surprise return to Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The two, who left three years ago, were brought back by the company’s current CEO, Sundar Pichai. They are expected to help the company in combating OpenAI’s writing tool- ChatGPT.
The rival chatbot has shaken Google out of its routine, leading to the CEO issuing a ‘code red.’ It is the first real threat to Google’s search business, which holds 92.58% of the search engine market share globally. It’s closest rival, Bing, only holds 3.03% of the market share.
The two co-founders have been charged with reviewing Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) product strategy and explore ways on integrating more chatbot features into the search engine. AI will take the centerstage of Google’s plans going forward.
The ChatGPT Impact
The ChatGPT platform gained over one million users globally just within a week of its release.
While ChatGPT has been barely three months in the market, it has made significant inroads among users and its ability to simplify complex concepts has seen it widely embraced. It can also generate new ideas from scratch within seconds. Google feels that the platform could provide an alternative way for internet users to look for information.
Alongside streamlining the search process, it can take on complex tasks such as writing a children’s book, responding to dating site matches, write cover letters, and give career advice.
But there have also been concerns about using the platform for misinformation. According to AI experts, ChatGPT doesn’t have the ability to fact-check itself and therefore can’t distinguish between verified facts and misinformation. A Bloomberg report revealed that the platform can also generate sexist and racist responses.
The frenzy around the chatbot sparked concerns over misinformation, too. AI experts told Insider that it is unable to fact-check itself and can’t distinguish between a verified fact and misinformation. Bloomberg reported it can also generate racist and sexist responses.
Nonetheless, it sparked concerns at Alphabet about the possibility of displacing Google as the dominant search platform after it rapidly gained traction.
The unusual engagement of Google’s founders in the search engine side of the business emphasizes the urgency Google feels towards AI and ChatGPT. They remained on the board of the company after stepping down from their day-to-day roles.
ChatGPT was released by OpenAI in November 2022. Within two months, it has shaken Google into declaring a “code red” and upending its existing plans to prioritize AI development.
The search engine now intends to launch over 20 new AI-related products. It will also unveil a version ts search engine with chatbot capabilities later on in the year.
According to the New York Times, Google’s founders have been keen on bringing AI into Google’s products but had hardly been involved with the search engine since stepping back from day-to-day duties. A representative of the company who spoke to the Times said that the company continues to test its AI technology internally to make sure it’s helpful and safe, and that they look forward to sharing more experiences externally soon.
Reducing its Workforce
The news comes on the back of Alphabet announcing that it would e reducing its workforce. It announced on Friday, January 20, that it would cut down 12,000 jobs amid concerns of an economic slowdown. The layoffs will start immediately in the US but may take longer in other countries around the world due to “local laws and practices.”
In a memo announcing the layoffs, Pichai said that the hiring boom during the pandemic was “a different economic reality than the one we face today.”
It joins a slew of US tech companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, who are laying off their employees.
The Rise of Chatbots
OpenAI’s ChatGPT has prompted an industry-wide shift in AI and search engine development strategy.
But it may not only be OpenAI that Google has to be scared of. Tech startups such as Neeva and You.com are already providing the ability to answer queries through a chatbot similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Microsoft also expects to release a version of its Bing search engine that utilizes chatbot technology. According to a report, it’s in the development stage.
Google’s “Code Red” is a wakeup for industry professionals to realize the importance of staying updated on tech developments and leveraging them to stay competitive. The impact of chatbots on retention marketing is well-documented. But it’s now coming for search engine optimization (SEO) in a big way.