As soon as Microsoft announced its major $10 billion investment in ChatGPT creators, OpenAI, it was clear that this was the start of the great AI race. The general public have been familiarizing themselves with AI tech, as AI-created images or ChatGPT messages gradually become more popular on social media. Both user interest and capability was high in these new upcoming AI technologies, and that was the blood in the water.
ChatGPT launched in November of 2022, with Microsoft making its gigantic investment bid just two months later in January. It’s not the first time Microsoft has invested in AI, giving OpenAI a $1 billion investment back in 2019. Their investments followed several other billion dollar investments given by a bunch of entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk, but Microsoft’s has been the biggest to date.
It’s easy to see why ChatGPT and AI-powered search engines are incredibly tempting to Microsoft. Search engines and chat assistants can be very profitable in the long-run with how they can be used to advertise. Microsoft’s Bing however has floundered since day one, with Bing accounting for 9% of the global search market as of 2023, with Google dominating at 85%. Microsoft sees ChatGPT as their secret weapon, something Google, at time of writing, doesn’t have available to the public.
Microsoft’s Bing has already integrated ChatGPT into their search engine for some, with everyone else available to sign up to the waiting list. No time was wasted into creating, what Microsoft calls, “the new Bing”. This integration of their investment goes further still than just the search engine, with the confirmation that the AI-powered Bing will be added to the Taskbar in Windows 11. This update is already available for those with access to the new Bing, but those not in the Bing preview will have to wait.
It’s a hard and fast strike from Microsoft against Google, putting their all into Bing and seizing the opportunity to significantly disrupt the search engine and personal assistant market. Google is not taking this lightly. In a leaked audio clip from Insider, the CEO of Google Cloud is overheard talking about the historic nature of the AI technology boom. He calls out competitors for “taking shots at us saying that we are late to market”, but confidently assures employees “this is the very first minute of a new game, and the game is never done in the first minute. The game is done when the game ends.”
These are fighting words from Google. It’s clear to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian that the AI revolution is leading the charge in the future of technology, and they aren’t backing down despite Microsoft’s hasty start. Google already has its own upcoming conversational AI, named Bard. Bard is Google’s direct competitor and threat to OpenAI’s own ChatGPT. Despite not being directly owned by Microsoft, there’s a clear element of proxy war behind their investments and rapid adoption of OpenAI’s technology.
Bard has some advantages over ChatGPT, at least at present. ChatGPT is usually restricted to data and events prior to 2021, whilst Google’s Bard is powered by LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), a powerful tool that can seek for the latest information and events instead. Despite this, Bard has yet to be used in practice by the public. In Google’s own short demo, it appears to suffer from ChatGPT’s same issue of being confidently wrong.
Google has built a huge brand on being the world’s first and foremost search engine provider. Microsoft has seemingly had enough of living in the shade, and sees a ChatGPT-powered Bing to be the key to overthrowing the existing search engine ruler. ChatGPT already has 100 million users, and Microsoft wants to draw them to Bing. Whether customers are willing to make that leap, or if Google’s Bard can outperform ChatGPT and Bing, remains to be seen. What is clear however is that this race has begun, and we’ve just heard the starting gun.
Have you used ChatGPT? Will AI services alter your preferred search engine? Let us know in the comments below, and keep your eyes on TeqLuster for the latest technology news and discussion.