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Google Search vs ChatGPT: how will we conduct searches in the future?

Updated: Apr 4

With the introduction of ChatGPT our way of conducting research has evolved, so what impact will it have on traditional search tools like Google Search?


Google Search

The history of Google Search

The mid-90s was a period of significant growth for the World Wide Web. The number of websites was increasing exponentially, but searching for information was still a complicated and frustrating process. The search engines existing at the time relied mainly on keywords and indexing, often returning irrelevant or low-quality results. Google Search originated from a university project called BackRub, started in 1996 by two computer science Ph.D. students at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. . The central idea of BackRub was based on analyzing the links between web pages, with the belief that pages with the most links from sites considered "authoritative" were the most relevant for a given search. Starting from this insight, Page and Brin developed an innovative algorithm that assessed the importance of a web page based on the quality and quantity of links it received from other pages. BackRub soon proved effective, and in 1997, the project's name was changed to Google, a play on the word "googol," which denotes a number 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Today, Google Search is the most used search engine in the world, with over 9 billion searches per day. It is a fundamental part of our daily lives, helping us find information on any topic, communicate with people, and carry out our online activities. However, in recent months with the advent of AI, the way we conduct online searches is changing and highlighting a clear contrast between traditional Google searches and the conversational approach offered by tools like ChatGPT



Google Search vs ChatGPT 

The main differences between ChatGPT and Google Search  relate to how they interact with users and handle information:


Memory and personalized learning:
  • ChatGPT: It does not have the ability to remember previous conversations with users or to learn from interactions. Each session is independent, and there's no customization based on past conversations. This means that ChatGPT does not build a user profile based on previous interactions.

  • Google Search: Uses data from previous searches and other interactions of the user with Google services to personalize search results. This means that Google learns from your search habits and can tailor search results to be more relevant to your specific interests.

Interaction and information consumption:
  • ChatGPT: Provides direct answers to users' questions, trying to simulate a natural conversation. It can process and summarize information, provide explanations, and even generate creative content based on specific instructions.

  • Google Search: Presents a list of links to web pages that might contain the information requested by the user. Therefore, it requires the user to navigate through these results to find the specific information they are looking for. It does not directly provide detailed answers but directs the user to sources.


Currency of information:
  • ChatGPT: Its knowledge is limited to the data it was trained on, which stops at a certain point in time (for example, up to April 2023 for the last known version). This means it cannot provide information or news updated after that date.

  • Google Search: Provides results that include the most recent information available on the web. This makes it a more suitable tool for searching for news, research, or recent developments.


Privacy and data handling:
  • ChatGPT: Does not store personal conversations or use them to build a profile of the user's interests over different sessions.

  • Google Search: Search data and other interactions with Google services can be used to personalize the user's experience, including advertising, which raises privacy concerns for some users.


In summary, while  ChatGPT is more oriented towards providing direct answers and text-based conversational interactions, Google Search acts as a portal to the wide range of information available on the Internet, with customization capabilities based on user activity.


Google Serach vs ChatGPT

Google Search's business model at risk

With the advent of new technologies and the potential decrease in the use of Google Search, doubts arise about the future of its business model, which is based on online advertising. Google offers a free search service to users, but monetizes its platform by displaying ads that are relevant to their searches. In fact, Google offers advertisers the opportunity to place contextual ads near relevant search results, leveraging specific keywords searched by users. These ads, known as Google Ads, generate revenue on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, meaning that advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks on their ad.

But what would happen if there was a significant drop in searches onGoogle Search, decreasing ad views and, consequently, advertising revenue? This could force Google to explore new monetization models or to strengthen its advertising offerings on other platforms. If the relevance of personalized search were to decrease due to the popularity of artificial intelligence-based services that do not track users, Google might have to reconsider its practices of collecting and using user data, finding a balance between personalization and privacy.


Google Circle to Search: A possible alternative

Google Circle to Search is a new feature that allows you to search for information about any element displayed only on Android devices. With a simple gesture, you can circle, highlight, or scribble over the object of interest to obtain immediate information, the meaning of a word, similar images, stores where you can purchase the item, and more. This solution is made possible thanks to the integration with artificial intelligence and machine learning, which make finding information faster and more intuitive.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the future of online searches seems to be heading towards a greater balance between direct and contextualized access to information and respect for user privacy. On one hand, artificial intelligence-based tools like ChatGPT offer new modes of interaction and content consumption. On the other hand, Google is not standing still, constantly evolving its services to keep up with user needs. The competition between these different approaches will not only stimulate further innovations but will also lead to a richer, more personalized, and privacy-conscious search experience.


 

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