Will OpenAI Have Its Own “Google”? What Marketers Need to Know About OpenAI’s New Advancements in Search

Updated: May 27, 2024

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For the past couple of weeks, everyone in marketing was buzzing about the possibility of OpenAI launching a competitor to Google Search. Rumors have been flying

“Is it the end of Google’s search engine?” “Will SEO still matter?” “Does OpenAI even stand a chance?” These were just a few of the questions making the rounds. 

Well, the big announcement didn’t happen (at least not that specific one), but it doesn’t mean OpenAI’s search advancements are standing still.

    An Ex-Googler as OpenAI’s Newest Vice President

    OpenAI recently hired Shivakumar Venkataraman as its new Vice President. I know you might be wondering, “Who in the world is this guy, Iasmine?” Well, he’s no stranger to the tech scene—he’s a former bigwig at Google.

    At Google, he led various divisions, including search advertising, Google Labs, and even the blockchain division. Venkataraman holds degrees in computer science and has worked at Hewlett-Packard Labs and IBM before Google. 

    So, it’s safe to say they didn’t pick him out of a hat. With his expertise, he’s poised to be a real game-changer for OpenAI, especially if they’re gunning for their own version of “Google Search.”

    Should Alphabet investors be worried? 

    Even if OpenAI launched a new search engine tomorrow, Google is so well-established that it would be a tough challenge to dethrone it. 

    Google holds over 90% of the search engine market share, while its next closest competitor—Bing, bless its heart—has only 3.64%.

    But Will OpenAI Have Its Own “Google” or That’s a Tall Tale?

    Here’s the kicker: creating a new search engine doesn’t seem to be on Sam Altman’s (CEO of OpenAI) to-do list.

    In a recent interview, Altman mentioned that imagining OpenAI creating a Google clone “understates what [OpenAI advancements] can be.”

    He says he’s more excited about helping people find information in entirely new ways. Altman doesn’t think the world needs another Google, but integrating a chat client like ChatGPT with a search engine? Now that’s “cooler,” he said.

    Altman also expressed his dissatisfaction with ad-supported models like Facebook and Google, where advertisers can influence search results. He said that with ChatGPT, he knows he’s not the product being sold. 

    But aren’t we training the machine every time we use it? Doesn’t that make us a kind of product, too? Just food for thought. 

    What’s clear is that OpenAI doesn’t plan to monetize user data through targeted ads, which Altman believes is financially sustainable. Do you?

    So, What Are OpenAI’s “Cooler” Plans? 

    Real-time data 

    Recent deals with publishers like Dotdash Meredith, Le Monde, and Prisa Media indicate a focus on providing ChatGPT users with access to real-time news content and links to original sources. 

    Integrating real-time data into ChatGPT is pretty cool, indeed. But it won’t look like the blue links that Google makes available on the SERP; it will be more like a well-grounded conversation.

    ChatGPT is now “omini”

    OpenAI just introduced ChatGPT-4o (the “o” stands for “omni”), promising faster responses, voice conversations, and the ability to upload images and documents for summarizing, organizing, or asking questions about them. 

    These are promises they have been talking about for a while. ChatGPT-4o is available on desktop MacOS and features a more user-friendly interface. 

    Another “cool” feature they’ve rolled out is called “memory,” but it’s only available to some users at the moment as they’re testing it out. 

    Essentially, it lets you ask ChatGPT to remember certain details, and then it uses that information to tailor responses in the future. Here’s an example they shared on their page:

    “You mention that you have a toddler and that she loves jellyfish. When you ask ChatGPT to help create her birthday card, it suggests a jellyfish wearing a party hat.”

    I don’t know about you, but it’s a little unsettling to me. It feels like I’m sharing a bit too much with a stranger.

    Free users of GPT-4o will have a message limit that resets after a few hours, but at least there’s a free option, following Google’s Gemini steps.

    And speaking of limits, the message you get when you hit it isn’t exactly pushing me to upgrade to the Plus version. It’s like, “You’ve reached your GPT-4o limit. Responses will use GPT-3.5 until your limit resets after 4:09 PM.” Well, for now, that’s fine by me, unless they seriously amp up the perks for Omni to make it irresistible.

    What Else Is To Come?

    In the future, they plan to make it possible to talk to ChatGPT through real-time video conversations and even predict users’ emotions based on what the platform hears and sees. 

    As I mentioned in my previous article on ChatGPT, I can’t help but remember the relationship between Theodore and Samantha in the movie “Her.” At this point, it doesn’t even seem that weird—I can totally see some people I know falling in love with ChatGPT. Just kidding. I guess. 

    Well, apparently, I’m not the only one who thought about the movie, as the very Sam Altman makes a clear reference to it: “The number of things that I think ‘Her’ got right, that [was] not obvious at the time […] that was incredibly prophetic,” he once said.

    Is It The End of Search Engines?

    Take a chill pill! The end of search engines isn’t likely to happen anytime soon (or ever). 

    Sure, Artificial Intelligence is amazing, but let’s be real—there’s still a high demand for good old human-generated content, or at least a hybrid of AI and human input. 

    Think about it: When you’re searching for something, you often need the nuanced, creative, and sometimes quirky touch that only humans can provide. AI can give you facts, but it can’t always give you that personal touch or deep insight.

    Plus, users are showing they’re not ready to jump ship from traditional search engines just yet. A perfect example is people opting out of the generative AI features in Google

    Despite all the hype around AI, many users still prefer the reliability and familiarity of standard search results. They trust the balance of human editorial judgment and algorithmic efficiency that traditional search engines offer. 

    So, while AI is a powerful tool and a great supplement, it’s not going to replace search engines. Instead, it’ll more likely work alongside them, enhancing our search experience without taking over completely.

    What About OpenAI’s Approach to Safety Issues?

    Well, that doesn’t seem to be going too well. Jan Leike, a safety researcher who co-led the Superalignment team, resigned after having expressed concerns about OpenAI’s approach to AGI (Artificial General Intelligence)

    His co-leader, Ilya Sutskever, had already left hours earlier but sounded a bit more optimistic, saying, “The company’s trajectory has been nothing short of miraculous, and I’m confident that OpenAI will build AGI that is both safe and beneficial.” 

    The Superalignment team’s page mentions AI dangers, including human extinction, if AI is not supervised and controlled. Are we in a sci-fi movie or what? The fact is, this group seems important, and it’s falling apart.

    Leike also tweeted about the AI danger, saying, “Building smarter-than-human machines is an inherently dangerous endeavor. OpenAI is shouldering an enormous responsibility on behalf of all of humanity.” 

    He expressed dissatisfaction regarding OpenAI’s stance on his research, stating, “Over the past few months, my team has been sailing against the wind.” He didn’t go into details but seemed to imply that his team had been left adrift in a sea full of terrifying creatures.

    Sam Altman acknowledged Leike’s tweet and agreed, “[…] he’s right, we have a lot more to do […].” That’s definitely something we should keep an eye on.

    So, To Sum Things Up: What Marketers (And Any Other Digital-World Professional) Need To Know

    First off, don’t panic about a new search engine dethroning Google anytime soon. Google’s dominance in the search market is solid, with over 90% market share. 

    However, keep an eye on OpenAI’s moves, especially with the hiring of Google veteran Shivakumar Venkataraman. 

    While the fusion of AI and search is indeed thrilling—take the integration of real-time data, for instance—it doesn’t spell the end for traditional search engines. 

    There’s still a hefty demand for good human-generated content, and let’s face it, AI alone can’t cater to every user’s whim.

    About ChatGPT-4o, this new version is a game-changer. It promises faster responses, voice interactions, and the ability to handle images and documents. This is huge for tasks like data analysis and information compilation. Looking to the future, OpenAI has some ambitious plans.

    But what about the elephant in the room—safety issues? It’s clear there are internal disagreements about the approach to AI safety. Sam Altman himself admits there’s plenty more ground to cover in this area, so it’s certainly a topic deserving of our attention.

    Here’s a parting nugget of wisdom: Always approach rumors with a healthy dose of skepticism and double-check your facts before spreading the word. 

    While OpenAI might have a trick or two up its sleeve, for now, let’s stick to what we do best: Optimize for Google and embrace the new AI tools that come our way. And let’s not forget to keep a keen eye on the broader ethical implications of these technologies.


    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

    Iasmine Oliveira Rock author vector
    Content Marketing Analyst | SEO Specialist

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