Dec 08, 2022

ChatGPT Unlikely To Disrupt Google

Google's infrastructure moat, speed, and trust continue to be overlooked when hyping up ChatGPT as a drop-in Google replacement.

I'll fade the prevailing "ChatGPT will destroy Google" sentiment...

1. It's likely Google already has this technology through DeepMind. If that's the case (and I think it is) they haven't deployed it for a reason.

2. Infrastructure is a huge part of the Google search experience. Billions of daily queries have forced them to build out everything from data centers to undersea cables to custom silicon in order to present lightning fast results.

I've had at length conversations with one of the core Bing developers. He spent multiple years late in his career working on just one thing: reducing the time between query and presented results by 50ms.

Speed is at least 50% of the search game.

3. Trust is critical when evaluating what your search returns. This is the part that's most overlooked in my opinion.

One of the reasons Google shows a selection of results is so you have some freedom to determine what you think is trustworthy. ChatGPT is a black box.

Does the first thing spit out of a chat bot (however good) make you feel like you are definitely looking at the correct answer?

Not to me. I want to see and choose the source(s) and think most people are the same.

4. While ChatGPT will inevitably get better and incorporate newer and newer data, it's training only goes to 2021 data. Everything you see it return right now is at least somewhat behind the rest of the world.

Going back to Google's infrastructure moat, building out real-time data ingestion/indexing is wildly expensive considering the amount of data generated on the web each day.

5. You're going to retrain everyone to use a different search service? How has that worked for DuckDuckGo or Bing? People use Google because it works and the UI is at the very least good enough.

ChatGPT interfaces will have to be significantly better than Google's which is an infinitely A/B tested UI.

In the end, a challenger to Google will have to overcome these five things plus more: Chrome and Android are major portals to the internet which feed Google critical and proprietary data.

ChatGPT is very impressive and will be an excellent add to domain specific search topics as it improves. But it's only ~90% of the way to excellent. That last 5% takes decades to get to thanks to diminishing returns (Tesla FSD) and why Google presents search results the way they do.

Have we learned nothing over the last two years about how mass accepted hype plays out? Tech stock hype, AI hype, oil hype, natural gas hype... fade hype.

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