OpenAI could unveil its Google search competitor on Monday


OpenAI is reportedly gearing up to announce a search product powered by artificial intelligence on Monday that could threaten Google’s dominance. That target date, provided to Reuters by “two sources familiar with the matter,” would time the announcement a day before Google kicks off its annual I/O conference, which is expected to focus on the search giant’s own AI model offerings like Gemini and Gemma.

This new rumor tracks with earlier reports from both Bloomberg and The Information that also suggest OpenAI is developing an AI-based product capable of searching the internet. According to Bloomberg, OpenAI’s search feature will be built into its ChatGPT chatbot and include citations, while The Information reports OpenAI’s search service could be “partly powered by Bing.”

OpenAI previously attempted to give ChatGPT access to live web data via ChatGPT plugins, which have since been retired in favor of GPTs. People rapidly adopted ChatGPT for information-gathering tasks after it was introduced in November 2022, but the chatbot — like all bots built upon LLMs — has a poor reputation for providing accurate or up-to-date information.

Whether or not these new OpenAI rumors bear fruit next week, Google knows its reign over the search industry is under threat. “It’s not like life is going to be hunky-dory, forever. If there’s a clear and present market reality, we need to twitch faster, like the athletes twitch faster,” Google search boss Prabhakar Raghavan warned employees in a meeting reported by CNBC last month. 

“People come to us because we are trusted,” said Raghavan. “They may have a new gizmo out there that people like to play with but they still come to Google to verify what they see there because it is the trusted source and it becomes more critical in this era of generative AI.”

OpenAI is seemingly attempting to build off that trust, with sources telling The Verge this week that the company is aggressively trying to poach Google employees to work on its own search offering. And OpenAI isn’t the only AI-focused threat bearing down on Google — Perplexity, a $1 billion start-up founded by a former OpenAI researcher, said that its own AI-based search product had attracted 10 million monthly active users back in January.

Google is facing these challenges alongside fighting the DOJ’s ongoing antitrust case regarding its dominance in search. If OpenAI is planning to enter the search game on the eve of Google’s I/O event then it’s likely doing so to send a message — one that Google would do well to take seriously, given ChatGPT is one of (if not the) fastest-growing services the world has ever seen.

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