Google and Bing are the two biggest search engines in the United States (and a lot of the world), and less than two months after OpenAI’s ChatGPT launched onto the scene back at the end of November 2022, both Microsoft (who has invested quite a bit into OpenAI ChatGPT) and Google have been reported to be releasing chatbot features into their search platforms.
Highlights of the story:
- These changes are moving fast. Google plans to demo features this year, and Microsoft may implement ChatGPT into Bing as soon as March.
- The specific chatbot features are unknown. It’s not a stretch to assume that at least some search engine queries will soon be answered via chatbot instead of by a link to an article. Business Insider (citing The Information) suggests Bing’s chatbot features will attempt to answer some searches this way.
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What it means
The search engine experience may change drastically over time. Hopefully by leveraging powerful chatbots, search engine users will enjoy faster and more informed answers to their questions, and without the need to sift through endless affiliate links and advertisements (like we use!). In addition, Microsoft might just prove to be true competition in search. Who doesn’t like a little choice?
Powerful chatbots continue to become mainstream. Google has over 3.5 billion searches per day,which will mean a lot of exposure to their chatbot. The move to incorporate chatbot features into mainstream search engines is a big step forward in the adoption of AI into the general public.
Launch could be bumpy. We don’t have a crystal ball, but roll outs this large and this fast will likely have some hiccups. This could be poor results on a few searches, unforeseen impacts (such as the business impact on publishers), or maybe bad actors taking advantage.
A red flag for anyone who depends on organic traffic. Research has shown that featured snippets can steal significant amounts of organic search traffic. We don’t know exactly how these chatbots will impact organic search, but it is likely to lower the amount of organic traffic available for your website. Digital marketers will want to keep a close eye on this development, and likely develop other traffic generating channels such as email.
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